The Dutch Media Hub, a government-backed scheme which aims to route all digital content entering Europe through the country, is hoping to sign up US studios, writes Adrian Pennington.
As well as these plans, in 2011 it plans to tap the Bollywood market and perform a similar role for digital cinema content emerging there. The Netherlands government hopes to wrest business away from Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and London and establish the country as Europe's digital media gateway.
Forty companies have partnered in the consortium, which officially launched last July, with expertise spanning OB, rental and production (UBF), digital film services (Technicolor; Digital Film Center Europe), network storage (EMC_), CDN (Jet-Stream), playout and production (DMC), file-based advertising exchange (Adstream) and more.
Most of the studios are already working with the individual companies and the hub is setting up trials with Warner Bros. Discussions are ongoing with all the majors and will intensify at NAB, claims programme director George Freriks.
"We began by devising a concept for the secure digital storage, management and distribution of vast volumes of data as a value added service, brought it to the attention of the major US studios, received their feedback and we are now ready to position the Netherlands as the gateway to Europe," said Freriks.
Importantly Amsterdam is home to one of the world's largest internet hubs: the Amsterdam Internet Exchange which pumps out over 900 gigabits per second of traffic.
National public broadcast NPO and its commercial counterparts SBS and RTL are cooperating under the aegis of the Hub in a project to facilitate the file-based exchange of all AV materials between themselves and facilities throughout the country by October 10 this year.
"The Hub will broker arrangements between customers and consortium partners to develop innovative pilot projects," explained Freriks. "Once we have a practical business solution we can ramp it up to a business on a much wider scale."
Among the pilot projects is a cloud computing market for European digital cinema and TV assets, and an exploration of text, image and speech recognition search techniques for mass data storage.