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Microsoft and Ascent Media Europe Collaborate to Deliver Significant Cost Savings to the Media Industry


LAS VEGAS, April 24

- Media Companies Set to Benefit From New Digital Asset Management Solution That Can Help Create, Manage and Distribute Digital Content More Efficiently

Today at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, NAB2006, Microsoft Corp (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Ascent Media Europe, a leading provider of content creation, management and distribution solutions for the media and entertainment industries, announced a new alliance to deliver one of the UK's first implementations of a distributed digital media archive, designed to enable content owners to significantly speed up the overall production process across multiple locations and help reduce operating costs. Combining Microsoft(R) Connected Services Framework and Ascent Media's Atlas services, this advanced new system will be made available to media and entertainment customers across the UK and Europe, transforming their businesses to run on digital-file-based workflows and archives.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )

"This alliance enables media companies to cut content delivery times from days to hours and, over time, will reduce operating costs typically associated with the delivery of physical content to customers," said Brenda Smith, group managing director, Europe, for Ascent Media. "Our strategic investment and expertise is enabling our European clients to pass on these cost savings to their clients."

Traditionally, as organisations grow, the complexity of their internal systems grows with them, resulting in numerous siloed applications that lead to cumbersome workflows and incur unnecessary costs. Increasingly media companies are looking for better ways of connecting different areas of their business to capitalise on the new opportunities offered by digital technology. Microsoft Connected Services Framework delivers significant integration benefits that can enable companies to migrate existing legacy tape-based archives which, when coupled with Ascent Media's digital media management expertise, transform them into 21st-century content providers.

A major worldwide content distributor is the first customer to benefit from the Microsoft and Ascent Media joint approach, enabling employees to use a new set of services to quickly and easily find and retrieve content in their digital archive, which helps to speed up media order fulfillment. The Ascent Media Atlas service will allow them to repurpose and distribute content electronically, while Microsoft Connected Services Framework links information about the digital file back to the customer's legacy systems, enabling faster content retrieval and better tracking through the process.

When it comes to developing a digital strategy, many companies are often daunted by the sheer scale of the task: some company archives hold more than 250,000 tapes, and the process of transferring these to a digital format is formidable. Microsoft and Ascent Media will help customers overcome this hurdle by working with them to prioritise their needs and adopt a phased approach to digitisation. This approach can help customers spread costs over time while already starting to reap the benefits of digital-file-based workflows.

"This as an exciting time to be working with media and entertainment companies that are looking to develop their individual digital strategies to better exploit their assets," said Maria Martinez, corporate vice president for the Communications Sector at Microsoft. "The solution we have developed with Ascent Media can really help speed up content acquisition and delivery -- internally and externally to their end customers. In the future, production houses will not only be able to supply content to traditional television channels, but will also be able to extend services to mobile operators and Internet service providers quickly and efficiently without having to reformat the content."

Microsoft Connected Services Framework enables customers to integrate their systems quickly and cost-effectively, and in collaboration with Ascent Media provides a platform to streamline their businesses with digital media management processes.

About Ascent Media Group Limited

Ascent Media Group Limited provides effective solutions for the creation, management and distribution of content to major motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies and other companies that produce, own and/or distribute entertainment, news, sports, corporate, educational, industrial and advertising content, through Ascent Media Creative Services comprised of St Anne's Post; One; Rushes, Soho Images; Todd-AO UK and Computamatch; Ascent Media Management Services comprised of Wardour Street and Hawley Crescent; Stream and Visiontext; Ascent Media Creative Sound Services comprised of Soundelux London; and Ascent Media Network Services Europe comprised of Hawley Crescent and Stephen Street. Further information is accessible at www.ascentmedia.co.uk.

Source : Microsoft

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