March 5, 2010

Digitizing video assets can unlock many Vaults

A little more than a week from now, Selection Sunday will kick start the NCAA Tournament, unlocking passions from coast to coast, but by unlocking The Vault on Wednesday, the NCAA hopes it got an early start.

The Vault is a good example of a significant digital asset -- in this case, a treasure trove of video from NCAA Tournament games dating back to 2000 -- that existed but went untapped until the NCAA decided to take a chance at monetizing it. Almost every organization has video assets, but because digitizing it for online use is expensive, the key is developing a digital strategy and exploiting that use.

In the case of the NCAA, even though the video is limited to games from the Round of 16 and forward, The Vault is a gold mine for fans. The games can be sliced and diced and shared on Twitter, Facebook or simply emailed.

“The old idea in the industry was to protect the archive and drive fans to the broadcasts,” Gregg Winik of CineSport told the New York Times. “Now, people are saying, ‘Internet video is a real business.’ ”

All the major sports leagues have video highlights of past seasons. Few, however, offer access to complete-game archives, and none reach as far back as 2000. archives go back to 2004; 2005; 2006 and 2008-2009. Some display the video pages better than others, but none offer the accessibility or depth of what the NCAA just launched.

The Vault is a slick site from Thought Equity Motion, a Denver-based company that specializes in digitizing and storing video content online. Its partners include the BBC, the New York Times and HBO.

It’s a six-figure gamble for Thought Equity Motion and the NCAA, but it’s a gamble worth taking, and one that, initially anyway, is being supported by ads. More important, the venture has the potential to expand the NCAA’s fan base, increase revenue streams through sponsorship and provide a video foundation on which to build for many years to come.

College hoops, rewound {Forbes}
NCAA Tournament goes online, clip-by-clip {N.Y. Times}
Say hello to Vault, adieu to productivity {Wired}

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