ALEXANDRIA, VA.—Who says that you need to be either old school or new school? New developments with business management systems certainly don’t subscribe to only serving the requirements of traditional over-the-air services or the new needs for digital programming. Rather, companies are seeing a chance to remove the divides that initially required multiple devices tackling digital and OTA and create a “one-stop shop” for all business management needs.
Formerly known as “traffic and billing,” business management systems within the broadcast space encompass a wider range of financial and logistical needs within the media facility, including scheduling, ad management and digital rights management.
“It’s going in the direction of convergence between digital and linear programming and sales,” said Mike Tirrell, chief operating officer at Myers, a broadcast management software developer. “More and more broadcasters are looking to manage all of their sales and all of their inventory via digital or over-the-air in a single system.”
“[Broadcasters] want a rich mixture of television—digital, online, video on demand, over the top—in with their television buys,” added Dave Villano, COO for Imagine Communications.
The convergence into a single system brings a number of new capabilities to business management systems, including use of the cloud, increased integration opportunities and handling the implementation of ATSC 3.0 and how that can help improve the increasing use of addressable and programmatic ads, designed to automatically target specific consumers based on tendencies.
NEXT GENERATION SALES PLATFORMS
In the era where an iPhone can be a phone, a high-resolution camera (still and video) a computer and a gaming system, it’s clear that people want, if not expect, tools to handle multiple tasks. Users of business management systems are certainly no exception.
Myers meets that desire with its Pro-Track end-to-end business management software system, capable of handling tasks from proposal and sales to billing and accounting, as well as most everything that falls in between, according to Tirrell. The company is now increasing its focus on livestreaming.
“We’re in the process right now of building out some newer functionality to be able to handle the booking of digital business, custom branding for digital channels and management of digital rights as they relate to over-the-air rights,” Tirrell said. How customers can access this is also important, especially with the cloud becoming a vital source for users. Myers is addressing this need as well with new hosted solutions that are AWS-based.
MONOLITHS TO MODULES
Imagine Communications is also changing how its systems are operated by and presented to users. Switching from what Villano called “monolith” systems, Imagine’s series of next gen products, which all feature the XG moniker—i.e. XG Campaign, XG Gameplan and XG Linear—are broken into modules (aka microservices) that enable greater integration.
“We’ll consolidate a sales suite with one module and allow our customers to manage the sales and campaign pitch across media types so they’re not playing ‘swivel chair’ when they’re trying to sell media,” Villano explains. “The benefit there is that leaves us open not only to provide more robust functionality ourselves, but it leaves us open to work with our customers who may want to integrate technologies of their own to give them a competitive advantage, or also to integrate some other industry products that come from other vendors.”
ON THE ATSC 3.0 BANDWAGON
The rollout of the ATSC 3.0 standard, currently underway, will have a far reaching impact on the industry, particularly in the areas of hyper-localism and addressable advertising.
“ATSC 3.0 is the beginning of how we ‘level the playing field’ across the landscape,” Villano said. Imagine’s next gen business management system is designed to work with ATSC 3.0 as a standard offering, which it believes will allow broadcasters to operate in a similar fashion to MVPDs when it comes to ad deliveries.
Myers says that it is in the process of including the ATSC standard so that it can assist with elements like targeted advertising, messaging and other forms of hyper-localization. In the meantime, Myers recently rolled out a “full-functioned, full-featured sales platform” designed with addressable and targeted advertising in mind; Myers calls this new development its advanced sales functionality.
Similarly, the emergence of 5G is expected to provide a big boost to services for these systems. “Whether it’s ATSC 3.0, whether it’s 5G, whatever it may be, once you get to the impression… it will all be managed by the impression and be targetable down to a device,” says Villano.
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