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Digital content RTD perspectives - after the dot.com fall - El.pub Analytic No. 8

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  Introduction | Digital content themes | Value chain aspects | Content sectors | Technology
  Business models | To be continued | Comment on this issue of Analytic

Value chain aspects

At the creative production end of the value chain there is still only limited penetration of digitisation in the performing arts, while the usability of creative tools for producing pictures and animation leaves much to be desired. Interoperability is limited and tools for integration of images, sound and animation are poor. Software to support the tasks of producers and directors is in its infancy. The idea of a storyteller putting together a complete digital production from an animation script working on stock sets and characters, music and voices has generated a great deal of research but little development so far. (PuppetTime, for example, having disappeared into the code factory at Cycore).

At the distribution end the emergence of broadband is progressing only slowly. A recent FT article described as "a decidedly modest victory" the imminent possibility of achieving video on demand ("to let couch potatoes call up movies whenever they want to watch them"). In fact if the couch potatoes could call up any movie or other piece of audiovisual material from the combined libraries of the TV and film companies, on demand, it would be a very significant victory. If they could make their choice from a user friendly play list which found a way to alert them to material that they were unaware of it would be a major step forward. If the range extended to all live material currently being captured on camera, whether by sports TV channels or CCTV ... well, lets not look too far ahead.

In the middle lies the main area of current attention - content management. Web content management systems are still in the transition between written-to-order and off-the-shelf. Systems tend to be either expensive and over-kill or cheap and nasty. Their complexity leaves many potential users in the cold. At the other end of the business - the storage and control of major AV repositories, integrated with control of related rights and delivery into the value chain, the major companies are only at the beginning of the trail. The transition of the public holders of material (national libraries, museums, research institutes and universities) from paper to digital is very patchy and may not really be addressing the key questions of volume and delivery. Between these extremes lies the vast mass of company information and knowledge, where even document management systems are yet to make a significant impact.

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