by Julian Jackson
Screenocean are a UK-headquartered video archive. They started in 2009, representing the output of Channel 4, but quickly added distribution from other independent producers and broadcasters. In January 2017 they became the representative of the Reuters News Archive so they have a significant holding of international material now. The collection has over one million licensable clips online, spanning 121 years.
Screenocean are attending the next Visual Connections Expo in New York on October 25 so we thought we would give readers a preview of the collection.
Ali Blake, Screenocean’s Operations Manager, says, “We provide boutique style representation of independent footage libraries and expertise in rights management. The acquisition of the Reuters Archive propelled the business to worldwide operations. Our reach in the USA particularly increased.”
Besides Reuters News Archive Screenocean’s footage library now includes clips from Channel 4, Channel 5, Warner Bros Television Productions UK, Clips & Footage and Cover Images. They specialise in finding unusual footage and distributing it, particularly because independent production companies can be small and lack the expertise and industry penetration to sell their content, as well as perhaps being motivated towards production or broadcast, so Screenocean helps them do what they do best, while giving them an additional income stream from footage sales.
Ali Blake continues, “We represent all types and genres of footage on behalf of content owners. Each collection is unique. The Reuters News Archive goes back to 1896 to the present day, including material from Visnews, Gaumont Graphic, British Paramount and Universal. Clips and Footage is an eclectic library of historical events and personalities from 1895-1968, covering American and British Social History, Classic Hollywood and B-Movie trailers, silent comedy shorts and feature films. We represent classic Channel 4 and 5 broadcast programming, which is particularly strong in entertainment and documentaries featuring such titles as Dispatches, Cutting Edge and Unreported World.” Their collection increases by thousands of new clips and hundreds of new programmes each month. They have put in place a global distribution network to supply footage users.
Their parent company is Media Asset Management Technologies specialist Imagen, using automated technology they are able to collate, tag, and segment visual media content and provide controlled access. Ali Blake continues, “Beyond search and playback, Imagen manages the entire media asset lifecycle, from preservation to accelerated global delivery of broadcast files and transcoded surrogates. Whilst footage sales lie at the core of the Screenocean business, we also encourage and work closely with our partners to realise their longer-term digital media strategy. All our partners are unique, so we must be flexible to offer tailored solutions that align with their needs, models and values.”
Moving forward, they are automating the creation of metadata by using speech-to-text methods, as manual input simply cannot keep up with the amount of material they have to deal with. They are looking to enhance the technology platform that Imagen provides.
Julian Jackson is a writer whose interests encompass technology, the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here: https://julianj.journoportfolio.com