Three firms set up joint venture to digitise old tape data

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: Three foreign global players have joined forces to set up the Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur to convert contents in outdated videotapes, audiotapes and film into digital data.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said with the setting up of the cutting-edge end-to-end digitisation facilities here, Malaysia would serve as the hub for media conversion and preservation services in Asia.

"Contents in tapes would be lost forever if not digitised by 2025, I was told," he said.

Gobind said this after the three global players namely Australian-based DAMsmart Asia Sdn Bhd and Silver Trak Digital and UK-based TansMedia Dynamics endorsed a memorandum of understanding to run the centre in Kuala Lumpur.

"The digitisation of magnetic tapes and other tape-based formats is of paramount importance, particularly if those audio-visual recordings are of national and historic value," he said.

He added that a national framework for the digitisation of film and audio-visual collections needs to be formulated.

"A collaborative approach involving all stakeholders including the federal and state governments, national organisations, non-governmental and non-profit bodies, research and learning institutions as well as the private sector is needed.

"This will enable and ease the processes involving digital preservation, long-term access, digital archiving, digital curation, institutional repositories, and digital records management in our country," he said.

He said that as the digitisation facilities are now available in Malaysia, the governments and its agencies, as well as the private sector businesses no longer need to send valuable national, private or corporate archives abroad.

"In fact, Malaysia should aim to become the one-stop centre for digital transformation for the region as the digitisation mass volumes of physical assets can now be done in a short period of time, as well as other related services using AI (Artificial Intelligence)-based engines.

"I was also informed that these three companies are aggregating media services work back into Malaysia from other South-East Asian countries thus creating additional jobs in the media sector.

"This will help create a local workforce with skills in digitisation and restoration of valuable national archives and other important archives, as well as skills in content management, quality control, and provision of content for new delivery platforms.

"This certainly bodes well for our local economy as we tackle the challenges of the digital era and IR (Industrial Revolution) 4.0," he said.

Gobind added that content in outdated platforms could be restored and made accessible through digitisation.

"(This would) make available a treasure trove of images and sounds of the past that will likely inspire creators of new works and encourage entrepreneurs to bring new dissemination models and explore revenue outcomes," he said.

Meanwhile, DAMsmart Asia chief executive officer Joseph Kelly said the digitisation processes and services would require significant capital investment.

"It could cost hundreds of millions of ringgit, depending on the size of collections (in various departments, agencies and organisations, among others). But what is important is to preserve the history and culture," he said.

DAMsmart Asia is a media services business specialising in the conservation, digitisation, and restoration of valuable media archives.

TransMedia Dynamics has 20 years experience in the development and delivery of products and services to global media, government, education and archive industries, among others.

Silver Trak provides innovative, software and cloud-base media logistics to content owners, producers and media companies.

Present were TransMedia Dynamics chairman Tony Taylor, and Silver Trak Digital CEO Tim Creswell.

Also present were British High Commission International Trade Department deputy director Clifford Bebb, Australian High Commission senior Trade and Investment commissioner Daniel Havas, Danyal Hamidon of Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and Finas chairman Datuk Hans Isaac.

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