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Google digitization project leads the way for archival preservation

04 July 2024
Google digitization project leads the way for archival preservation

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Google, YouTube and Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) are delighted to announce the successful completion of a groundbreaking digitization initiative. 

The project began in 2020 and has provided EBU Members with the unique opportunity to digitize their archival tapes free of charge, utilizing Google's state-of-the-art digitization facility in Munich, Germany. CyBC is the first Member to complete the programme, after starting the process in November 2022, with almost 20,000 tapes digitized

Footage digitized from CyBC as part of the project included significant events in Cyprus's recent history. This included the arrival of the Olympic flame in Cyprus in 2004, in the context of the global torch relay of the Summer Olympics, and celebrations for Cyprus's accession to the European Union in 2004, highlighted by a concert by renowned singer Anna Vissi in Nicosia, symbolizing a momentous occasion in Cyprus's integration into the EU. 

This milestone highlights the EBU’s collaborative efforts to preserve invaluable archival content for its Members. Other EBU Members, including DW, ITV, and TVR, have also benefited from the initiative, with over 90,000 tapes collectively digitized, showcasing the project's broad impact on preserving audiovisual heritage across Europe. 

The initiative has worked to support EBU Members in managing large digitization efforts, with participating Members required only to cover logistics and able to start the work within months of registering interest thanks to an efficient onboarding process. 

The EBU Digital team played a crucial role throughout the project, facilitating a smooth collaboration between broadcasters and the Google/YouTube digitization team. Broadcasters simply send their tapes to the Google facility, and after inspection and verification, videotapes are digitized into high-quality files, undergo quality checks, and are provided to the broadcasters, while the original tapes are repacked and returned. By handling the entire digitization process, this collaborative effort allowed Members to focus on managing their digitized content easily and effectively. 

Grace Zakka, EBU’s Platform Strategy Lead said: "We’re extremely proud of this initiative, and CyBC's successful digitization process sets a precedent for this project going forward. Our partnership with Google exemplifies the EBU's dedication to helping our Members preserve invaluable archival materials for future generations and supporting public service media in all areas of digital transformation." 

Fivia Savva, Head of CyBC’s Archive Department said: "The digitization of our archive content marks a significant milestone for CyBC. The partnership process with the EBU and Google has been seamless, and we’re thrilled to have been able to preserve such a high volume of our historical archives, making them accessible for future audiences to study and enjoy." 

Jon Brennan, Partnerships Lead, Media & Entertainment at Google said: "We believe that technology can help preserve stories. We are incredibly proud to have collaborated with the EBU and are excited by the positive impact we've achieved together. We believe that by continuing to partner with the industry, we can work together to further showcase how technology can be used to support the ecosystem. We look forward to building on this partnership in the future." 

Watch our video on the project here.

Relevant links and documents


Lyndsey Clark

Communications Officer