Iron Mountain Acquires Digital Conversion Company

Second acquisition in a month 'locks down' company's film and sound archive services portfolio.

Data protection and storage provider Iron Mountain Nov. 19 announced that it is acquiring privately held Xepa Digital, a specialist in converting analog and outmoded digital audio and video tapes to high resolution digital file formats for archiving and distribution. Iron Mountain did not disclose the acquisition price.

It was the second acquisition in a month for Iron Mountain. On Oct. 31, the company bought Stratify, a provider of advanced electronic discovery services for the legal market, for approximately $158 million in cash.

Xepa Digital and Boston-based Iron Mountain had been working together for the last two years as partners—Xepa doing the digital conversion and Iron Mountain handling the storage.

By incorporating Xepa Digital into its realm, Iron Mountain is "locking down" its investment in servicing the film and sound industries, Jeff Anthony, Iron Mountains vice president of film and sound services, told eWEEK.

"We had partnered with Xepa Digital for a couple of years and came to respect their services and capabilities," Anthony said. "Prior to this, the chain of custody, as we call it, was always a thing that was hard to control.

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Click here to read more about Iron Mountains efforts to build out its e-discovery suite.

"Various third-party vendors had to be used to transport and digitize the video or audio tapes, and lets face it: tapes get lost or damaged while in transit. Now, the tapes never leave Iron Mountain, and we can do the transportation, digitizing and storage all under one roof."

Iron Mountain has both underground and above-ground storage facilities in North America and in Europe, Anthony said.

"We store underground the master analog films and audio tapes going back decades for virtually all the major film studios," Anthony said. "Those are rarely, if ever, touched. The working copies are kept in above-ground storage facilities, and those are used quite often."

Anthony said that the original films made by such legendary stars as Charlie Chaplin and others are stored away in Iron Mountain vaults that are 300 feet underground and located in disparate places as Rosendale, N.Y., Boyers, Pa., and Santa Cruz, Calif.

"We have literally thousands of people working in these underground facilities," Anthony said.

Iron Mountain also currently preserves more than 6 million analog audio tapes—including masters—for a number of production companies. On-site digital conversion will allow customers to have their tapes digitized without ever leaving the facility in which they are stored and protected, Anthony said.

Iron Mountain also provides preservation services for all of the major film studios and record labels, including long-term archiving, tape inspection and duplication services, film cleaning, and meta-data cataloging services.

Iron Mountain will retain former Xepa Digital employees, including the companys three founders: Ken Caillat, Edwin Outwater and Claus Trebly. The entertainment industry veterans will join Iron Mountain as studio executives responsible for the day-to-day operation of the bi-coastal business.

Xepa Digital, based in Newbury Park, Calif., employs some of the industrys most respected engineers and has received multiple Grammy nominations for its work, Anthony said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...