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Red Bee buzzing with Digital Hive service

Company offers one-stop shop for converting platforms

CANNES – Red Bee Media, formerly BBC Broadcast, launched its Digital Hive service at the Mip TV/Milia confab here on Monday to help content owners, rights holders and distributors ease the adaptation of traditional content for mobile and video on demand.

Company, the largest channel management company in the U.K., is offering clients a one-stop shop to get content on to new platforms and tailored for different screens — whether mobile, VOD, broadband or handheld video players.

Digital Hive aims to lower the risk of converting content for mobile platforms, said John Pink, Red Bee’s director of business development. Company also advises clients on revenue models, negotiating with platform owners and storing content for future use.

A recent study by Red Bee and digital media research agency iBurbia found that made-for-mobile TV fare is much more popular than full-length programming because screen sizes are too small, opportunities to watch full-length programs on the go are rare and subjects preferred to watch full-length programming on TV.

Key to Red Bee’s strategy is tailoring traditional content, whether TV series or soccer matches, for the handheld screen — and that means supplementing TV rather than replacing it.

“There was significant interest in concepts that complemented TV viewing with extra and exclusive content on mobile phones,” iBurbia’s Omar Bakhshi said.

Mobile users are unlikely to watch a live soccer match in its entirety on their phones, according to Pink, but he added that there was great interest in complementary coverage that could be viewed on mobile gadgets while watching a live match on TV. These included instant replays of controversial penalties or a winning goal with enhanced computer graphics.

“People are rapidly changing the way they consume content, bringing a multitude of ways for rights owners to make more money from their content and exploit new revenue models,” Red Bee CEO Pam Masters said. “Technology issues will sort themselves out — the key is to make content engaging for consumers.”

Australian investment group Macquarie took over BBC Broadcast, formerly a commercial subsidiary of the BBC, last year.

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