|Title: Sony Sendai Factory Damage Endangers Professional Media Supply
Article: Sony announced on March 17 that their Sendai factory was severely damaged in the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck near there. The Sendai Sony plant was the only facility in the world capable of manufacturing most of Sony’s Professional Media Products. Sony products impacted by the earthquake include HDCAM SR, HDCAM, DVCam, Betacam SP, Digital Betacam, Betacam IMX, Betacam SX, XDCam, SxS, DV and HDV. In particular the Sendai plant was the only facility in the world capable of manufacturing HDCamSR tape and SxS flash cards. Sony refused to license these technologies to any other manufacturer. The SR technology is particularly precise and it may be some period of time before manufacturing can begin at some other facility. As a result of the loss of the Sendai manufacturing facility Sony has placed these products under allocation to prevent hoarding.
Equipment suppliers and system integrators serving the professional media and entertainment industry indicate that significant shortages are anticipated. According to IMT’s Rob Kobrin, “HDCamSR is the preferred format for high end programming, and is still the basis of much of our current customers’ work flows. I am guessing that there may be a three month supply in inventory. In particular, high volume users who manage cash flow may have only a two-week supply on hand of HDCamSR tape.”
HDCamSR cassettes had recently been priced from $50 for a 40 minute cassette to $220 for a 130 minute cassette. These prices will likely rise as a result of product availability. Reportedly, major studies and other content owners have been discussing how to recycle and recertify their redundant HDCamSR tapes to extend their current supply and also accelerated efforts to move away from HDCamSR-based archives and workflows to file-based workflows and archives using HDD-arrays, LTO tape libraries and modern high speed networks.
Coughlin Associates expects additional growth in the use of HDD and digital tape archives as well as network storage in the Media and Entertainment industry as a result of the shortage of HDCamSR tapes. Broadcasters, movie houses and creative facilities may want to contact system integrators specializing in this industry to determine the best way to manage the loss of HDCamSR tape supplies and move to non-HDCamSR tape workflows and archives. A list of some system suppliers and integrators working in this space is mentioned below:
IMT: 818-761-9770, www.imtglobalinc.com.
Media Technology Market Partners: 626-533-1206, www.mediatechmarketpartners.com
Oracle: 303-272-4853, www.oracle.com
Rorke: 952-943-7471, www.rorke.com