ITV News Streamlines Its Large-Scale Archive, Simplifies Access with CatDV

With a history in broadcasting that dates back to the 1950s, ITV News has amassed a tremendous archive of news stories and longer-form content. News teams in distinct regions across the UK often want to retrieve archived media for their current reporting, but it’s not easy. Over the years, different groups had stored content in a variety of systems, using multiple formats.

In 2004, ITV News attempted to create a single, searchable database for its content libraries—and that effort temporarily addressed some challenges. But the database and search engine could not easily accommodate the news division’s transition from physical media to HD digital files in 2014. When the search engine was left unsupported on an old operating system, it was time for a change.

Selecting CatDV Asset Management Platform
The ITV News team was ready to invest in a new archiving and asset management solution. But team leaders wanted to retain as much of the original infrastructure as possible to make the most of previous investments. After evaluating proposals from several vendors, the ITV News team selected a solution that included the CatDV Asset Management Platform along with an archive storage system from Spectra Logic. The solution can support uploads from existing Avid iNEWS and Interplay systems; provide regional catalogs and maintain identities for ten distinct news regions; enable users to search across all regions; integrate with popular file-sharing systems for proxy reuse; allow partial retrieval of long-form content; and more.

Deploying the New Solution
A team of CatDV experts and outside consultants customized the solution to integrate with existing technologies and accommodate current processes. The team even customized the look of the interface using a variety of available web interfaces and style sheets. “We were keen to create an ITV corporate look while also reflecting the unique identities of the distinct nations,” says Steve Teague, head of technical services for ITV News.

The combined team then deployed the solution into production, importing approximately 3 million assets across 10 regions into the new environment. After records were reindexed, the system was placed online, ready for users in a centralized archive.

Streamlining Workflows, Simplifying Content Access
Before implementing CatDV, ingesting content and logging timecodes were highly manual processes. CatDV has helped replace these and other manual tasks with automation. At the same time, CatDV has simplified content access. Journalists from across the UK can now search a single database and retrieve content quickly and easily—without assistance from technical staff. “The CatDV approach has taken us from a very labor-intensive, manual system to something that is efficient, puts content first, and makes it easier to exploit our assets,” says Teague. “From the user perspective, we have had very positive feedback, especially on the self-service aspect of the system, which has meant easy remote access to content.”

Given the positive experience users are having at ITV News, it might not be surprising that a growing number of teams beyond the news division are employing the archive and asset management system. The clip sales team, studios, and sports teams within ITV have all adopted the system.

Preparing for Evolving Needs
With a new archive solution centered around CatDV asset management and ongoing workflow improvements, the ITV News team can now better support the digital workflows of today—and tomorrow. According to Teague: “CatDV is a pleasure to use, and the biggest reward is that we now have a system that we understand and that can flex to our changing requirements.”