Spanish Broadcaster Multicanal Manages Multichannel Operations With SintecMedia's OnAir

SintecMedia's OnAir software has been integrated into the workflow of Madrid-based broadcaster Multicanal to manage programming and promotions for the company's seven channels airing in Spain and Portugal. Multicanal's purchase was SintecMedia's first installation of OnAir Version 3. The new version centralizes many management functions, eliminates duplicate data entry, and facilitates communication between the various departments to bring about lower operating costs. It also provides an open architecture for the broadcaster's IT staff to adapt the system to new business requirements.

Pedro Blanco, Multicanal's IT director, first learned about OnAir at IBC2002, and the system was installed in the spring of 2004, replacing a collection of systems that dated back nearly two decades. In comparing OnAir to two competing solutions, Blanco found it to have the right combination of features and price point for his needs.

"Our previous management software was 'a black box'—we couldn't go into the database to analyze the data and generate reports or update the business rules to validate the schedule. Instead, we had to request various reports and pay for them separately," said Blanco. "OnAir's database is based upon an open architecture so we can generate just about any report we want without outside assistance. It has a user-friendly interface and I have enjoyed being able to customize its look and feel considerably. The number one feature that our staff appreciates is how easy it is to search the database for information."

OnAir is being used to control the content of Multicanal's seven channels—which are broadcast over a combination of satellite and cable—from beginning to end, purchase contract to tape. The system, which was installed by SintecMedia, has assisted Multicanal in launching additional channels. Blanco has since made a wide range of customizations, starting with translating much of the screen text to Spanish. He has added new applications to the OnAir menu bar, set default values for certain fields, designated some fields as mandatory, inserted additional fields, and modified color schemes, among other custom changes.

Blanco reports that SintecMedia's technical staff provides excellent support when difficulties arise. "Their technical support is one of the best things about the company," he said. "They are willing to answer our questions whenever we call them." Such responsiveness has been much appreciated while he and his staff learned how to maximize the capabilities of their powerful new management system.