Q&A with Kathey Battrick, Director of Operations, ITN Source21 Aug 2014
ITN Source has been Reuters archive video licensing partner since 1998. They recently opened up the Reuters video vaults and discovered a goldmine of rare and unseen archive material and have just completed digitizing 69,000 clips. We spoke to Kathey Battrick, Director of Operations to find out more.
Thanks for your time Kathey. Could you tell us a little about ITN Source?
ITN Source is the footage licensing division of ITN and represents some of the world’s largest and most diverse archive footage libraries across the globe, including Reuters (and its historic newsreel collections), ITV Studios, NBC, Fox News, Fox Movietone, Asian News International and many specialist collections. ITN Source is a gateway to an incredible source of moving imagery, from news to drama, celebrity, comedy, music, wildlife, natural history, entertainment programmes and film, captured over three centuries. The archive is vast, with over 2.8 million clips online and growing at a rate of over 20 hours of digitized content a day. We are an international business, our headquarters in London and main sales offices in New York, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo and Singapore.
Could you tell us about your role at ITN Source?
As Director of Operations for ITN Source, I plan, define, develop and lead the operational and technical strategy for the business. This incorporates management of the archiving and cataloging teams and the workflow and infrastructure associated with the Reuters video management services.
How does ITN Source work with Reuters?
ITN Source has been the archive video licensing partner of Reuters since 1998. In the latest agreement we committed to deliver a number of new technical projects, such as the archiving of Reuters content in HD and project management of the digitization of Reuters legacy archive. I am overseeing the delivery of these projects and head up the teams responsible for day to day video management services.
You recently opened the Reuters video vaults and discovered a goldmine of rare and unseen archive material. Can you tell us about that process and the content?
ITN Source have now digitized over 69,000 Reuters clips as part of a major digitization and preservation programme. Footage has been digitized from Paramount, Gaumont and Visnews collections, plus hand-picked archive material selected by our experienced researchers. We have also prioritized the digitization of material relevant to upcoming anniversaries and events, such as the 50th anniversary Winston Churchill’s death, as well as specific client requests for content related to projects they are working on. Much of the footage we have digitized has not been seen in over 50 years and some of which had never even broadcast on television.
We have created a special webpage showcasing highlights from the recently digitized Reuters material (Freshly Digitised Footage from Reuters), which we update on a regular basis as new material is digitized and uploaded to the website.
Through the digitization programme we have also uncovered a fantastic selection of interesting and quirky clips from the Reuters Life collection. Featuring Reuters international coverage of health, environment, entertainment, lifestyle, arts, culture and faith, shot in an amusing and light-hearted style. We have compiled a selection of our highlights from the Reuters Life collection here: Reuters Life! special page.
What trends are you seeing in video, both broadcast and online?
Looking ahead, we anticipate the demand for video to continue increasing rapidly, however, we do not believe it will come from our traditional broadcast client base. If anything, the demand for archive footage within the TV industry has remained flat or declined in the last few years, driven by budget pressures and the shift to lower cost reality TV formats in several markets around the world.
The increase in demand for archive video will come from the digital sectors most notably within the education sector, publishing markets, corporate and heritage sector. Within the digital education sector, where we are seeing the proliferation of e-learning platforms and products, we anticipate demand for archive footage coming from the higher education sector.
How is ITN Source reacting to those trends?
A commitment to digitization in order to make archive footage more visible and accessible to emerging digital sectors lies at the heart of our strategy. ITN has now completed the full digitization of its own archive and is working with its partners around the world, including Reuters, to increase the volume of digitized footage that can be previewed on itnsource.com. We are currently publishing around 20 hours of new, digitized footage on our site every day.
ITN Source continues to invest heavily in improving and developing its online sales platform, itnsource.com, in order to improve the client experience of searching for and ordering footage online. For example, at the end of last year, we launched IMX30 enabling our clients to download broadcast quality master footage directly into their edit suites.
We also appreciate the power that archive can have in shaping the direction of a production, and we’ve developed a much more creative and collaborative approach of working with our clients, running bespoke archive development workshops in order to stimulate production ideas with archive at their core. In other words, we’ve adopted a more proactive approach with our clients and the feedback on this new approach from them has been excellent.
What was the most surprising piece of content you found?
We found a great clip from 1964 that really provides some great insight into how Visnews, which forms part of the Reuters archive collection, was set up.
What is your favorite video?
‘Slimming Made Easy – at Knebworth Park’ has got to be one of my favorite clips. I love all the bizarre contraptions and treatments the women get, which they think will help them slim. I think the cameraman got a few cheeky shots in there too!
What do you personally like about working in this field?
Personally I love the challenges that every day brings, no day is ever the same. There’s nothing more satisfying that delivering a project and it’s always exciting when it includes a new, rare piece of footage – that may never have even been broadcast before. I also take great pleasure in watching TV or film productions and spotting several clips I know we supplied.