NASCAR, Duplitech Deliver Historic Races on DVD—When You Order Them

By Carolyn Braff

NASCAR has an incredible library of historic races, but until recently, finding them on DVD was no easy task. This spring, NASCAR Media Group began offering 10 previously unreleased classic races on DVD, but rather than offering the titles through a brick-and-mortar store, the content is only available online, through the NASCAR.com portal. In fact, the titles are only available after they are ordered, as proprietary software from Duplitech authors and produces the DVDs on-demand when individual Web orders are placed.

“From the NASCAR Media Group side, it’s very simple,” explains product-licensing manager Adam D’Andrea. “We provide Duplitech with the masters of those races on digibeta tape from our library. In some instances, we can even supply them a hard drive, so we give them an already-encoded file.”

Duplitech then creates a master from which it can replicate individual orders on-demand, thereby creating a retail environment for a product that doesn’t necessarily have a shelf life in a brick-and-mortar store. NASCAR Media Group simply hands off the files to Duplitech and lets them handle the work. “That’s why we like them so much,” D’Andrea says.

Duplitech began working with NASCAR three years ago, when president Tony Cunha offered to allow fans to build their own DVDs, picking and choosing titles to customize the disc.

“There were lots of rights issues that got in the way of us being able to deploy it the way we had hoped to on the library titles, so in the interim, we worked out a business model whereby we were capturing the current races,” Cunha explains. “We built an interactive interface that allowed fans to watch a replay of the race, monitor five different driver channels, and jump into any of the different cars during the course of watching the DVD.”

By the spring of 2009, some of those rights issues had been solved, and NASCAR Media Group was ready to put its classic races on DVD, so the group turned to Duplitech to distribute the titles in a cost-effective manner. DVD distribution on-demand, Cunha says, was the best way to do so.

“We had originally developed these applications for an on-demand environment,” Cunha explains. “We have developed auto-authoring tools, which enable someone to go to a Website and select different titles to build their own DVD. The Website then sends a command to a backend server, which auto-authors a DVD with those unique titles, so every DVD that comes off the line is unique to the customer that ordered it.”

Although the classic races do not follow that format—fans purchase a particular race, rather than building their own DVD—the fully-automated application was a perfect fit for cost-effectively making a library available. A third-party fulfillment center then burns, prints, and ships the individual orders to NASCAR fans on-demand.

In conjunction with NetBlender, Duplitech is developing tools that will enable the company to take a similar approach to authoring content libraries for Blu-ray.

“We’re hoping to be able to collaborate with NetBlender in opening up Blu-ray authoring for a much larger number of titles than have been able to cost-effectively hit the market up until now,” Cunha says.

NASCAR Media Group plans to introduce its first Blu-ray disc by the end of the year.

“There’s a lot of content out there that people really would like if they knew it was available,” Cunha says. “We’ve seen it with other content owners, and we think NASCAR will really be the first in sports to open up such a vast portion of its library. We’re hoping it’s going to be a big success.”