Mitchell Linden

When the British Broadcasting Corp. needed a manager to run its newly created BBC Technology subsidiary, it took a creative approach with Mitchell Linden.

Head of BBC Technologys Digital Media Solutions group

Age: 45

Born: Cleveland

Education: San Francisco Art Institute

Car: Infiniti I30

Stress reliever: Painting, enjoying fine art and good wine, cinema, golfing and playing with his kids

When the British Broadcasting Corp. needed a manager to run its newly created BBC Technology subsidiary, it took a creative approach with Mitchell Linden. Asked for his official title, Linden said the BBC thought "head of" would suffice. By way of a career in art and experimental film, Linden became fascinated with the merger of technology and media and founded The Content Group in 1996. Linden has also worked in motion picture production with top clients. As head of BBC Technologys Digital Media Solutions group, the American Linden told Senior Writer Richard Williamson, he is charged with helping the BBC develop a more entrepreneurial profile.

Why was BBC Technology separated from the broadcasting company?

About two years ago, when Greg Dyke stepped in as director general of the BBC, he was mandated with looking at, first, potentially outsourcing a lot of the technical support for the BBC, and second, new revenue streams. After sort of exploring the usual suspects for technical support, we decided the best talent was already in-house. So, we took our 1,400[-person] technical support staff and repositioned them as a wholly owned subsidiary called BBC Technology.

Which companies are your customers?

Our primary customer is the BBC. We provide everything from traditional desktop support to facilities-built hardware integration, satellite uplink, business systems support and mission-critical media software systems. Weve taken these services globally, and are providing [them] to broadcasters and other organizations where media plays a significant role in how they do business. Our customers go from organizations like Fox Digital and DirecTV to Matchstone Films, which is digital media, to Qwest Digital Media.

What kinds of problems can you solve for your customers?

The trend is to look at how to integrate systems into a fully digital tapeless environment for production. So, you have better collaborative work flows, where production personnel have quicker access to the media. They have access to the knowledge gained by the last person who touched the media, and the ability to link discrete systems.

What other trends are you seeing?

To catalog and index [media] over time has been a very complex task. Only now are storage costs coming down. Network connectivity is becoming more or less commoditized, and the capability of databases, media asset management applications and indexing tools like Mirage are allowing us to start to provide these types of solutions.

Are people surprised that a BBC subsidiary is involved in this new line of business?

I think six months ago they were. I think the mind share we have captured in the market in less than a year has really been incredible. A lot of industries realize that a lot of the battles that are being fought today in terms of how you store and how you provide access to large, complex media objects are occurring in the broadcast arena, and they will be able to take advantage of the knowledge gained.