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AETN, Ascent Reach Digital Media Accord

A&E Television Networks has formed a strategic relationship with Ascent Media under which the programmer will gain a centrally managed digital repository for its media assets that will pave the way for distribution to platforms around the globe.

Ascent Media has designed and built a dedicated, state-of-the-art file-based platform to that provides capabilities for existing SD and HD linear channels, and enables the full library of AETN content to be digitized, catalogued, and managed more efficiently to meet evolving business opportunities. 

In addition to its seven domestic SD networks and two HD networks, AETN channels are available in over 137 countries. The company has also been expanding its reach in the digital media space, including agreements with iTunes, MicroSoft Xbox Live, MobiTV and others.

As a full-service outsourcing partner, Ascent also owns and operates the Stamford. Conn. facility around the clock. This arrangement enables AETN to focus on brand and market development, while entrusting its technology and operational needs to Ascent Media. 

Using direct access to files or low-resolution proxies on desktops in Stamford or New York City, AETN and Ascent Media staff can retrieve and manipulate video for post-production, create on-air promotions and direct the movement of files to the Ascent Media playout facility for playout. Metadata is delivered in real time via direct fiber links to AETN business systems in New York, eliminating data entry errors and delays in the collection of tracking information. Graphics systems provide extensive on-air layering capabilities for branding, promotions and DVE moves. In addition, satellite and fiber transmission services are deeply integrated with the new infrastructure to provide a high level of redundancy. In the case of power or signal interruptions, the system will automatically re-route sources and signals to ensure business continuity.

“As we explore the vast array of options now available for distribution of our media, we needed alternatives to ‘silo’ approaches to content management,” said Bill Harris, senior vice president, production and broadcast operations for AETN, in a statement. “Through our partnership with Ascent Media, we have access to a new, cutting-edge facility that ensures service quality for our SD channels, supports rapid launch of HD services, and will allow us to optimize our digitized content across multiple distribution platforms in domestic and international markets.” 

All told,, Ascent Media originates or distributes more than 200 networks worldwide via facilities in Stamford, Burbank, CA, Minneapolis, MN, London and Singapore.