"Alaskan Brewing Co. first became a sponsor of the Iditarod in 2005. It was a natural fit, because Alaskan Amber and dog mushing both offer a taste of Alaska's frontier past. But the Iditarod is one of the best-kept secrets in sports. We hoped that by sending video footage to news stations in the Lower 48 people could see for themselves what an interesting and challenging sports event this is. We wanted to share our excitement and our pride in our state and this historic race," said Amy Woods, communications manager for the Alaskan Brewing Company.
To pull off breaking news coverage, the brewing company enlisted the services of a local full service video production company, G-Force Productions. Owner and video producer Gabe Strong traveled to Anchorage to videotape interviews and footage of the festivities and the race start. After videotaping Strong and Woods rushed to the hotel to edit video footage on a laptop computer. When editing was complete, Strong would hook up to a high speed T1 line supplied by the hotel and feed video over the internet via FTP to ENG FTP, a unique company that combines the benefits of video FTP with the reach of satellite distribution.
"I've worked with Bruce Wilkinson (the owner of ENG FTP) for awhile now," Strong said. "When Amy (from Alaskan Brewing) contacted me about this project, I knew it was a natural fit. TV stations want breaking news fast."
"This is a classic use of our technology," Wilkinson said. "We were the first video to the lower 48 by a wide margin."
After the files were uploaded to Wilkinson's server in New York, Wilkinson would put the video up on a traditional satellite which TV stations across the country could uplink. Because the hotel Strong was staying at was one block from the race start, he was able to get back to the hotel and upload video quickly. The first batch of video footage of the race start was actually uploaded and ready to play before the last musher had left the chute in Anchorage.
"The results are far from final, but so far so good. Our footage was picked up by at least 10 local TV news stations in four states, one radio station and one cable station, the Weather Channel. That's pretty impressive for a small craft brewer in the last frontier," Woods said.