Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF)

Moving the past to the future

Industry: Telecommunications
Region: Austria
Headquarters: Vienna
Company size: 4,500 employees

“The seamless integration of all process steps in the workflow is a prerequisite for continuous output, which we achieve regularly and reliably. The Digital Migration project is a strategic investment for future ORF programs and for Austria’s cultural memory.”

Mag. Herbert Hayduck
ORF Head of Documentation and Archives

Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF)

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For Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), the Austrian national public service broadcaster, it was time to end the costly and unproductive cycle of continual media format migrations.

The ORF multimedia archive contains well over one million hours of video content. Around 30% of this was stored in IMX or digi-beta formats. The background story will be familiar to any well-established media company. Since the 1960s, ORF has been continually transferring content from outdated media formats while adding up to 50 hours of new material every day.

This continually growing archive presents clear operational challenges. Both in Vienna and in regional facilities, the archive occupies significant space. In addition, as tape formats become superannuated, ORF is left needing to maintain recording and playback devices beyond their useful life, incurring additional wasted expense.

But perhaps most importantly, browsing archive content is near-impossible for program makers, which means that most assets lie unused. And when material is requested, the physical process of locating, dispatching and eventually returning the asset is time consuming, expensive and places valuable content stored on fragile media at risk.

The challenge

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  • Turn the physical tape archive into a file-based resource.
  • Initial tranche of 300,00 hours of content – or 600,000 individual tapes – for transfer to file format.
  • Reduction of physical volume requirements of the traditional archive space.
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The solution

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  • This important initiative became the DiMi or Digital Migration – project.
  • Dedicated DiMi team and workshop in Vienna.

Business benefit

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  • The content transferred is already benefiting both program makers and social and scientific historians and academics, from whom this material was previously all but hidden.
  • Load reduction on existing archival requirement and ensuring that current standards become a sustainable platform for future use.
  • For both program makers and viewers alike, easy access to content search and display becomes a routine expectation.

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