The Peacock Goes Digital: Deluxe MediaRecall Set To Digitize NBC Sports Group Content Library

Deluxe MediaRecall GM/VP Dan Glasser arrived at NAB 2013 this week ready to embark on one of the largest digitization projects in the history of sports media. With its massive new state-of-the-art facility now up and running in Stamford, CT, NBC Sports Group has tapped MediaRecall (a division of Deluxe Media Services) to digitize, catalog, and store its entire film and video library, comprising up to 400,000 hours of content.

“This content goes back 52 years with the Olympics content going back upwards of 80 years,” Glasser said from the Deluxe booth this week. “We’ve got so many formats: 2-in., film, 1-in,, DigiBeta, HDCAM — pretty much any format you can think of. It’s a massive undertaking, but we’re very excited about it.

“And honestly, we feel like it’s an important project to be a part of,” he continued. “There is a likelihood that there is content in there that has been lost on a shelf for decades. Now that can be brought forward through a combination of the searchability of the metadata that is being applied to it and the digital content being wed with it. Suddenly, those moments are at their fingertips.”

NBC Sports Group has committed entirely to a truly file-based production workflow at the network’s new Stamford facility as well as its remote operations in the field. Media Recall’s digitization of NBC’s archive represents just the latest example in these efforts.

Deluxe will encode to a digital master and apply metadata for all of NBC Sports Group’s media, including events as far back as the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 or Super Bowl I in 1967. As the digital migration is completed, the new master files will be imported into the group’s media-asset–management (MAM) system to enable search, discover, and file-based–workflow delivery all over the world.

“We see huge opportunities for NBC coming from this,” said Glasser. “For example, with Bob Costas’s encyclopedic knowledge of the history of sports, he brings up obscure references left and right on NBC sports programming. Now the producers have the ability to stay current with him. The second he mentions an historic event from 1974, they just hit five keystrokes and have the clip ready to go.”

Darryl Jefferson, VP, digital workflow, NBC Sports Group, who spearheaded NBC Olympics’ revolutionary Highlights Factory among other major file-based–workflow initiatives, added, “While the historical preservation of our media and reduced physical-storage costs are welcome byproducts of such an enormous undertaking, the most compelling reason for NBC Sports Group to complete this migration is to reduce in-production turnaround times of critical deliverables to nearly zero. With our new facility in Stamford, we engineered for true, file-based production, whether at our studios or in remote locations. NBCUniversal’s partnership with Deluxe is ideal to make that happen in less time and with greater ease than we could do on our own.”

Beyond the Peacock
Largely known for work in the entertainment and film industries, Deluxe and its MediaRecall sector have made a concerted effort to expand its place in the sports sector. While NBC represents the most significant sports client win to date, Glasser sees it as only the beginning once other sports-content owners see the potential of MediaRecall digitization.

“Between now and next NAB, I would hope we have had a larger installation across all the major sports,” he said. “The beauty of the NBC deal is that we are now touching content across almost every discipline of sport. My hope is that we enter into partnerships with more teams and leagues and can show them how valuable this can be.”

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