Levels Beyond to Manage UFC’s Entire Worldwide Video Production

February 24, 2012

Levels Beyond, a leading innovator in video library management and workflow software, has announced it will manage Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) entire worldwide video production workflow using Levels Beyond’s Reach Engine software platform.

A key element of this transition will be the digital migration of UFC’s entire 19-year content library, consisting of 30,000+ hours of content, for vastly improved content archiving, access and production around live MMA bouts.

“Levels Beyond demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the production and distribution challenges we face in delivering the sport of MMA to multiple distribution points in the U.S. and in 130+ foreign territories. Their Reach Engine software platform delivers the flexibility, speed and overall performance required of both our demanding production crews and hugely varied technical requirements of worldwide distribution outlets,” said Christy King, Director of New Media and Technology for Zuffa, LLC, owner of the UFC brand.

In addition to a global Pay Per View TV platform, UFC has a new home on Fox Sports Media Group, which includes FOX, FOX Deportes, FX, Fuel TV, Speed and all of FOX’s regional sports networks. This partnership will require original programming output of 350 hours this year, up from the 90 hours aired in 2011.

“Levels Beyond’s Reach Engine platform is specifically engineered to manage the aggressive live and archived content demands of companies like UFC. Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, requiring the most efficient production and distribution of content to UFC’s global footprint. The Reach Engine production workflow for UFC has become the blueprint for every sports network, rights holder and league channel, along with any major event producer. Levels Beyond finally allows media assets to meet up with the demands of 21st century business models, going beyond what exists today,” said Art Raymond, Chief Executive Officer of Levels Beyond.

UFC needs to access its live and archived content on the fly in a myriad of venues, and push it to any partner or viewing device. Previously, this time consuming process required editors to carry knowledge of thousands of hours of video in their heads, and then repeatedly upload content to finite ‘working storage’ drives, only to be deleted again when storage ran low. Now editors, production and distribution partners can use the Levels Beyond Reach Engine web interface to find and retrieve footage. This functionality allowed UFC to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by not having to install tape machines, tape libraries, and patch systems in edit bays in its newest production facility in Las Vegas. These savings also include much needed efficiencies in distribution to existing technology partners, as well as enabling new revenue opportunities by outputting content to Xbox, Hulu, iTunes, worldwide broadcast partners and other emerging OTT partners.

“During the course of two years, we looked at several media workflow configuration product ideas on the market. Ultimately we found deep experiential understanding and dedication from the development team at Levels Beyond. Their Reach Engine is thoughtfully designed to handle rapid-fire technology changes in today’s production and distribution environments. By working closely with Levels Beyond to fully develop their software, we have realized our vision of efficiently delivering the most entertaining mixed martial arts programming to virtually any viewing platform, anywhere in the world, firmly establishing UFC as the premier MMA sports destination and a leader in sports TV production technology,” King added.

Levels Beyond’s Reach Engine is the foundation of a multi-vendor video production environment, integrating the industry’s leaders in content editing, transcoding, and delivery solutions to create a seamless automated workflow process. With Reach Engine, video professionals can access any media in any storage location, whether a raw or completed asset, across an enterprise. Compatible with all major digital content creation hardware and software, Reach Engine’s focus on integration and open standards allows media organizations to meet the demands of the rapidly changing media landscape.

by Ismail Uddin