National Football League and IBM Implement Digital on Demand Technology

Digital Foundation Simplifies Access, Manages Game Content for Film, Networks

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ARMONK, NY - 20 Oct 2005: IBM today announced that it has designed and implemented an IT standard based digital media solution for the National Football League and NFL Films that catalogs game footage generated by the NFL and allows the League to bring its vast body of game content to hosts and producers faster, easier and at lower production costs.

This announcement reflects how digital content can give audiences exciting new viewing experiences and deliver new business opportunities as standard IT based technology solutions replace traditional broadcast systems to help create, manage and distribute digital content that previously would have been unavailable to access and retrieve.

The solution, called the Digital Foundation, features IBM TotalStorage SAN File System technology and IBM eServer xSeries industry standard servers running Linux, which allows a show producer or host to do a PC search through a statistically-based catalog of game plays; review the search results footage in real time; select and send footage to an editor and create content collections that can be accessed and viewed by different producers and hosts simultaneously. Also, the solution features IBM middleware, including DB2 Universal Database, DB2 Content Manager and Tivoli Storage Manager, which enables efficient management of the archived content and information.

Today, with the help of IBM, exclusive NFL coach's footage can be readily accessed through a PC by NFL Films to create enriched programming and analysis for NFL Network's "Playbook" and ESPN's "EA Sports NFL Matchup" television shows. In addition, the new digital technology solution will enable the NFL to utilize its content for a variety of future League and new media opportunities.

"By working with IBM, the NFL will be able to provide our viewing audience with the high quality content that they have come to expect from NFL Films each season," said Steve Sabol, president, NFL Films. "IBM's innovative digital solution enables the NFL to remain competitive as it gives producers and hosts quick and easy access to any particular game element and will help us capitalize on new business opportunities around digital content."

The NFL turned to IBM to help develop a digital technology infrastructure that would become the foundation to effectively leverage and efficiently manage their extensive collection of content -- over 100 types identified within the NFL, including coaches' game footage, broadcast programming and vast collections of video, audio, images, text and statistics.

Working with the NFL, IBM business consultants provided the expertise to understand current content workflows and together with the NFL designed the Digital Foundation solution to take advantage of standards based technology infrastructure, rather than traditional broadcast systems, to transform production processes around digital content to enable on demand access and management. By utilizing the Digital Foundation, enriched programming content and in-depth game analysis is now easily obtained, while the programming production cycle is dramatically reduced.

"Digital content is bringing a new dimension to broadcasting and customers like the NFL," said Dick Anderson, general manager, IBM Media & Entertainment. "The Digital Foundation solution for the NFL illustrates how innovative technology can both streamline operations and enable new business models."

Previously, in order to find appropriate game content for a television program, an NFL producer or host would manually search through printed NFL game books; view reels of video tapes; note plays on paper logs and then assemble plays to review later on tape.