SPE acquires 30% stake in Toronto software firm

Bulldog to beef up studio's digital operations

In order to more efficiently manage its complex web of media materials, Sony Pictures Entertainment has joined forces with the Bulldog Group, a Toronto-based leader in digital solutions for media asset management, taking a 30% stake in the company.

The two companies reached an agreement that includes an equity investment in Bulldog by SPE, together with a significant financial investment and a multiyear contract to purchase and further develop Bulldog’s software. The agreement also includes the licensing of Bulldog’s software, support and integration services, as well as a joint development agreement.

The deal is a tremendous boon to creative people at Sony, who deal with compound assets consisting of several elements, according to William Humphrey, exec VP, digital studios division of SPE. For instance, the lettering, images and background of a movie poster can be stored independently and later reworked for local marketing campaigns abroad. All the barriers that exist in an analog world disappear, Humphrey said.

Until now, SPE has used an analog, more manual means of organizing and distributing its assets. For every feature film or TV show at SPE, there exists a wealth of collateral materials, such as ads, stills, press releases, etc. All these products have down-stream distribution around the world.

It will take SPE some time to digitize all pertinent content — it’s taken some 2-1/2 years for SPE just to map out the project.

The agreement between the two companies is mutually beneficial. Sony already has a fairly rich digital infrastructure in place under its SPE digital studios division that Bulldog will have access to. The two companies will collaborate on new software development, “ensuring that future releases of Bulldog will meet the complex needs of the broadcast and entertainment industries,” according to Bulldog CEO Christopher Strachan.

And the deal further positions SPE to respond to the growing pace of the global marketplace by speeding the process in which the company is able to manage creative content and shorten the time to market.

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