Broadcasting bosses stress the need to store old programs

The seminar on digitial audiovisual archives was one of the pre-summit events leading to the 6th Asia Media Summit.
The seminar on digital audiovisual archives was one of the pre-summit events leading to the 6th Asia Media Summit

Executives from broadcasting stations in Asia have emphasized the importance of archiving audio and visual materials.

At a seminar on digital audiovisual archives held in Macau, broadcasting heads said old radio and TV programs should be handed down to the next generations.

“Programs are valuable records of the nation’s history, culture and times, as well as broadcasters’ assets,” said Masaya Maeda, principal program director of the NHK Copyright and Archives Center.

Maeda said NHK is now using preserved footage to supplement new programs. Some programs have been re-broadcast in whole.

Maeda revealed that the NHK regrets it did not begin systematic program preservation earlier. It was only in the 1980s when Japan’s only public broadcaster started program preservation.

“Many programs that were broadcast from 1953 to the 1970s had disappeared, such as popular TV dramas and puppet shows,” Maeda said.

He cited two reasons for the disappearance of these materials: the lack of appreciation for preservation and the lack of budget.

“Two-inch videotapes were extremely expensive, costing as much as an average worker’s annual income in 1958,” Maeda said.

He said videotapes were reused once a program was broadcast.

Hong Kong’s experience

Miranda Chan, program and content management head of Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), outlined the benefits of archiving audiovisual materials.

“Archiving is a long-term project with long-term benefits.”

– Miranda Chan of RTHK, Hong Kong’s only public broadcaster

Chan said having easy access to such archives may improve the quality of programs.

She also mentioned the business potential of licensing archived footages.

“Archives can provide long-term preservation of heritage,” Chan said. “Archiving is a long-term project with long-term benefits.”

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