International Olympic Committee to Be Honored for Archive Preservation

The award will be presented in September during the IBC conference in Amsterdam.
AP Images

The International Olympic Committee will receive an award at the upcoming International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) for its efforts to preserve and manage its audiovisual archives. This includes making the archives available to broadcasters and researchers.

Dating back to the first Games in modern times, in 1896, the audiovisual archives of the Olympics include 2,000 hours of film, 33,000 hours of video, 8,500 hours of audio and more than 500,000 photographs, as well as 2,000 archive documents and 22,000 pictures of Olympic Museum artifacts.

“This project is very important for two reasons. First, it ensures that more than a century of Olympic history is preserved for the future. But perhaps even more important it draws the industry’s focus on a subject which it is all too easy to ignore. Our archives risk becoming inaccessible, not just because of deterioration of assets but also because the hardware to play them is obsolete and virtually impossible to replicate," said Michael Lumley, chair of the IBC Awards panel.

At the start of their so-called "Patrimonial Assets Management program," IOC archivists conducted a study and found that, within just a few years, 50 percent of the videos would be unplayable, 20 percent of the faded photographs would be unusable, and there would be no audio players available for much of the collection. Meanwhile, the films were slowly deteriorating. The project involved restoring and digitizing these asserts, while at the same time, implementing a new digital asset management system.

Today, the business-to-business web site for the IOC archives, The Olympic Multimedia Library, is visited by 1,200 professionals each month, as well as by in-house IOC staff.

IBC will be held Sept. 10- Sept. 15 in Amsterdam.

(Disclosure: THR contributing tech editor Carolyn Giardina is a member of the IBC Awards jury.)