SAN FRANCISCO—The business of business systems has changed dramatically over the past few years. Gone are the standalone systems that met one primary goal: managing the tricky business of traffic and billing. Today, the technology has evolved to tackle elements outside the traditional purview of traffic (crewing, anyone?) and must do so in ways that fit both small broadcasters and large multimedia organizations.
Today, solutions found on the market point to integrated systems that many say are far superior alternative to manually assembling a collection of discrete point products.
Sarah Foss, vice president, product management for Imagine Communications That all-in-one mindset also drove the development of Xytech’s MediaPulse, an enterprise-class solution for facility management that handles resource management, order management, asset management, transmission, crewing and financial tasks, and combines those tasks into one system.
The system is crafted with five to 10 different modules that offer clients a number of operational remedies, according to Greg Dolan, chief operating officer for the Mission Hills, Calif.-based company.
The system was written so that it could innovate as new technologies become available and would be able to tackle multiple disparate areas—crewing, transmission, etc.—at once. MediaPulse offers 35 modules that can be coordinated to handle traditional tasks faced by a media facility, such as scheduling, billing and employee management. New features include new order screens for managing intricate workflows, scheduled reports modules, cost tracking, and financial reporting and payroll.
“Standalone scheduling systems are dead,” Dolan said. “If these systems are not talking to one another, they’re losing their relevance.”
Xytech is one of several business management systems that it being put to the test on sport’s biggest stage this summer as NBC uses several different software systems to manage staff, transmission feeds and resources during its coverage of 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. For Xytech, this effort involved the technical coordination of 3,500 staff members, flights and reporting assignments. MediaPulse is the engine behind a series of systems NBC is using that includes asset management, automation and news scheduling.
Every client has something unique, Dolan said, whether it’s handling content and IP routing requirements for the U.S. Department of State, or managing the behind-the-scenes greenlighting process for Red Bull Media House.
“A customizable platform allows you to speak to a client’s requirements; these have to be glove-fits,” he said. “Islands of individual systems don’t exist anymore.”
This month Xytech launched a Broadcast Services Division to address the changing needs of global video transmission services.
THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS
The business of managing the business came to a head for SNJ Today as it attempted to do something fairly unique: provide news and programming on Internet radio, via its own local Comcast television station, as well through an AM/FM radio station and local newspaper.
A new user interface from Myers’ latest ProTrack broadcast management system extends the capabilities of the ProTrack hub and Spoke platform, which currently serves as the core infrastructure for multiple centralized content acquisition, playout and storage service providers.
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The New Jersey media company installed the Imagine Communication’s LandmarkOSI traffic and billing ad management system to streamline ad sales across all of those properties: TV, radio, web and print.
By installing an integrated ad management and playout solution from, SNJ Today has improved operations and optimized their business workflow, according to Sarah Foss, vice president, product management for Imagine. “LandmarkOSI provides them a single system to automate and manage ad sales and billing across all their media channels, which enhances their competitive edge and helps them drive new revenue and manage it more efficiently,” she said.
SNJ Today’s integrated system manages ad sales and program scheduling across four separate media channels via integration with Imagine’s Versio automation and playout system.
“We needed a solution that… would give us the quality and professionalism of a ‘big-city’ broadcast station but deliver the efficiencies and ease-of-use we require to be successful,’’ said Ken Pustizzi, president and owner of SNJ Today. The kicker was the ability of the LandmarkOSI to manage ad sales and billing across all of the company’s media channels, he said.
The goal was not only to automate sales, scheduling and playout operations across all media platforms, but also to manage the entire enterprise as a unified operation, Pustizzi said.
GETTING IT TOGETHER
Connectivity with other systems is also a key element of NetInsight’s ScheduALL solutions. The company’s ScheduALL Portal is designed to improve a customer’s ability to book services, resources and even occasional use transmission feeds online in real-time.
According to NetInsight, the Portal is designed to eliminate the traditional communication methods of emails, phone calls and spreadsheets from the booking process and instead allow for customers to book packaged services or individual resources through the system itself.
That connectivity is a cornerstone of ScheduALL Connector as well. This resource management system unites ScheduALL systems across a supply chain, giving users real-time access to a resource inventory. Features include the ability to buy and sell resources in real-time, set up direct system-to-system bookings, and offer a centralized view of availability for subscribed resources.
ScheduALL’s technology is being used by NBC to manage transmission feeds and resources during its coverage of 2016 Summer Games.
Myers is another company pushing beyond traditional workflows to do more than just scheduling and traffic. The Northampton, Mass.-based company has extended the capabilities of its ProTrack Hub and Spoke platform, which currently serves as the core infrastructure for multiple centralized content acquisition, playout and storage service providers.
ProTrack Hub and Spoke enables independent stations to retain their scheduling autonomy, while capitalizing on the efficiency attained as result of shared content repositories and master control resources, according to Crist Myers, Myers CEO.
“Integrations are providing enhanced interoperability and in-turn creating more automated workflows,” he said. For example, more in-depth integration between ProTrack and other vendor partners has enhanced interoperability and bidirectional communication between ProTrack and technical systems, enabling content to move freely across multiple systems within the enterprise based on actual usage/scheduling requirements. The resulting accessibility and visibility, Myers said, is designed to improve workflow efficiency.
Myers also plans to roll out a new ProTrack product release that will feature commercial sales capabilities.
Other solutions look closely at rising trends in digital and programmatic advertising sales. SintecMedia’s Advertising Sales solution connects systems, processes and teams in an effort to grow advertising sales across three areas: properties, media platforms and distribution channels, the company said.
Pieces of the puzzle within the Advertising Sales Solution include reporting and analytics; invoicing, credit and accounting; remote sales; proposal and deal management; and traffic and financial system integration.
Along that same line, the company’s OnBoard system is a single platform for TV, digital and programmatic that specifically allows users to coordinate salespeople, delivery teams and backend systems to create a single cross-platform fulfillment process. Through the system’s web-based buyer portal, customers can buy, manage their accounts and monitor campaign performance.
The company recently partnered with TubeMogul to integrate TubeMogul’s programmatic television solution with On-Board sales and traffic to enable end-to-end programmatic advertising.
“This integration will provide SintecMedia’s clients a better view of demand and ensure they are maximizing their inventory in a private marketplace that is 100 percent integrated with their sales and traffic systems,” said Amir Lavi, president of SintecMedia Americas.
The company also offers OTT nonlinear solutions to manage linear and nonlinear distribution. Features include centralizing a content library by capturing and managing programs, episodes, formats and media as well as manage physical media workflow from procurement through airing. The system can also streamline fulfillment operations.
What’s next? Almost all agree that it’s necessary that modern business management systems offer technology that fits our modern era: cloud connectivity, a mobile interface and connectivity through an app—even though BMS systems are traditionally complicated and visually intricate systems. “Even it it’s feature heavy, it has to fit in a mobile or browser,” Xytech’s Dolan said.
Susan Ashworth is the former editor of TV Technology. In addition to her work covering the broadcast television industry, she has served as editor of two housing finance magazines and written about topics as varied as education, radio, chess, music and sports. Outside of her life as a writer, she recently served as president of a local nonprofit organization supporting girls in baseball.
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