Myers—Crist Myers, President & CEO
Q. What products or services does your company offer?
We offer broadcast management software to a wide variety of television and radio stations, as well as other content distributors. ProTrack, our flagship application, enables media facilities to employ a single platform to acquire, manage and schedule content for both linear and nonlinear distribution. Once schedules and media packages are defined, sales teams can quickly ascertain availabilities and initiate contracts to capitalize on those revenue-generating opportunities. ProTrack defines and tracks sales goals so that real-time pacing reports and revenue projections can be generated.
Prior to distribution, broadcast logs are massaged and finalized by traffic and exported to automation and/or transcode systems for distribution. Throughout the process, ProTrack exports and imports schedules and program metadata to various devices throughout the entire broadcast chain, including but not limited to: station websites, EPG/PSIP generators, automation, archive management, transcode and accounting systems. In addition, ProTrack coordinates the movement of media from archive to playout server and vice-versa based on what is actually being scheduled within the management environment.
We also provide a wide array of application support services, none of which are outsourced, to help our clients 24/7/365. These include consulting, data entry, systems integration, training and custom programming. Lastly, we provide a framework to facilitate the distribution of content metadata and schedules from networks to affiliates and between individual stations.
Q. What do you anticipate will be the most significant technology trend at the 2013 NAB Show?
I expect to see a lot of marketing and discussion regarding the convergence of TV and the Internet and more full-featured cloud-based services. This is primarily driven by economic pressure and customer interest. I say “interest” because I have yet to see the “tipping point” of consumer demand for interactive TV. However, they are demanding universal access. Like many “new” trends at NAB Show, they tend to be years in the making as content owners work out new models of monetization. Previous trends that I believe we are in the midst of digesting will revolve around efficient metadata workflows, systems integration and nonlinear content distribution. I am also expecting to see the continuation of industry consolidation via acquisition, mergers and attrition.
Q. What’s new that you will feature at the NAB Show?
The cool thing about being in the software business it that every single day, from the moment you walk in the door to the time you leave, your products change. So, at this year’s NAB Show, we’ll be featuring newly enhanced versions of all our products and modules, each with significant improvements to areas where increasing demands are being placed. For example, ProTrack’s ability to simultaneously handle multiple incoming and outgoing messages so that it’s the primary system for all metadata and content scheduling to multiple distribution points. A case in point would be our newly incorporated “Live Log” functionality to Automation via BXF. In addition, we’ve streamlined workflows across the board; added new sales functionality associated with nonlinear content distribution and improved our User Interface.
The challenge for vendors like us is to constantly add features and functionality, while at the same time, reduce the steps required to execute a task. From my perspective, “sizzle” might get you a sale or two at NAB Show. But to stay in business year-round, clients expect us to deliver a “perfectly cooked steak” every day of the year. That is exactly what we aspire to do. There’s no room for error in the broadcast operations environment; that can cost a media facility lots of money. We are counted on to effectively understand and incorporate all of the new ideas and trends announced at shows like NAB Show, such as file-based workflows, BXF language protocols, nonlinear content distribution and cloud-based computing. In addition, we need to anticipate how it will evolve so we can allow for that flexibility as it’s adopted and expanded upon.
Q. How is your new product different from what’s available on the market?
ProTrack is unique in that it does more than just “traffic.” Our application is perfectly suited for media facilities that produce/acquire their own content and have a need to manage it over an unspecified period of time (storage, rights, etc.). As such, we’ve developed a highly capable broadcast management system that deals with content throughout its lifecycle—from acquisition to reconciliation and everything in between.
However, our products are just one part the offering. Systems like ProTrack require a wide array of support services to implement an intelligent, functioning broadcast workflow. Our people are just as important as our product. We have the very best systems integration, custom development and technical support service teams in the business. This allows us to lead the way with confidence when it comes to helping our clients implement robust bidirectionally integrated systems and develop custom requirements for technical support and training services.
Q. What is it about NAB Show that brings you back every year?
NAB Show provides an excellent opportunity to talk with our customers, collaborate with vendor partners and meet new prospects. It’s a one-stop shop for our industry and a very important event that offers a sneak peek at the future, solidifies trends and helps to dispel fads. We come back from every NAB Show experience with new ideas, partners and customers.