BBC and IBM Create Strategic Alliance to Embrace the Digital Future

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LOS ANGELES, CA & LONDON - 05 Mar 2007: The BBC and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have forged a strategic alliance, following the signing of an agreement for a framework outlining several joint projects between the two companies.

One of the first projects will focus on applying state-of-the-art image/video search technologies to CBeebies and CBBC programmes. This IBM Research system has the ability to visually analyse images/video to categorise the content based on appearance and make it more searchable. The project will utilise it to create a compelling set of multimedia interactive search experiences for accessing BBC children's content on-line.

Ashley Highfield, BBC Director of Future Media & Technology, said: "This alliance with IBM will offer new and genuinely innovative services to our audiences. For example, combining the BBC's massive TV and radio archive with IBM's cutting-edge research into video and audio search technology should provide the means to unlocking huge latent value in our long tail of content."

In addition, IBM will work with the BBC's official technology partner Siemens to deploy a pilot of their Media Hub technology in order to trial new business processes and ways of working amongst the BBC's creative teams. The pilot follows the recent deployment by Siemens of IBM's WebSphere products, which sit at the centre of the BBC's service oriented architecture.

Steve Canepa, IBM's vice president for Media and Entertainment, said: "We look forward to collaborating with the BBC on these exciting and innovative new areas. IBM's combination of media and entertainment industry solution capability, R&D investment, services skills and technologies will help us to ensure that the BBC remains one of the most advanced media companies in the world."

IBM is also discussing potential collaboration projects with the BBC in areas including content distribution; customer relations management; joint research; and rights management. Siemens, the BBC's technology partner, will work in conjunction with the BBC and IBM.

The BBC has a well-established relationship with IBM spanning many years in consultancy, training, development support, and results and analysis for major sporting events.

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