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Front Porch Digital Bolsters Archive With Samma Deal

Archiving supplier Front Porch Digital has acquired videotape-ingest specialist Samma Systems in an effort to diversify its product line and make it easier for broadcasters to digitize their old content.

Financial terms of the deal between the two private companies were not disclosed. The combined company will have 80 employees, with 17 coming from Samma.

Louisville, Colo.-based Front Porch Digital has some 280 installations of its file-based digital archive systems across 55 countries, and counts large programmers like TV Azteca in Mexico and ESPN Star Sports in Singapore as customers. But while its Diva Archive systems are a natural way for broadcaster who have adopted file-based production to store their long-term content, the company hasn’t had a solution for how customers can easily digitize the reams of analog videotape they have sitting on the shelf. That is a critical issue, as valuable content is lost each year due to videotape degradation.

“We currently manage some of the largest archives in the world, but our customers have far more content stored on shelves on videotape,” says Front Porch Digital president and CEO Mike Knaisch, who estimates that there are 6 billion videotapes in the world and some one billion, or 7,000 petabytes, containing high-value content.

The acquisition of New York-based Samma, which has created an automated system which takes any type of analog or digital videotape and ingests into a digital file for archive storage, helps solve that problem. He notes that Samma already has sold its systems to customers with huge videotape libraries like the Library of Congress, Crawford Communications and the ABC owned-and-operated stations. Front Porch will be integrating the Samma technology with DivaArchive to create a front-end ingest solution for digital archiving.

“We believe they have a suite of products that every broadcaster in the world needs,” says Knaisch.