Station Traffic: Say Goodbye To Manual Entry

Every day, media services company Entertainment Communications Network, ECN, distributes instructions — lots of instructions — to television stations around the country on behalf of its clients, including ad agencies, program syndicators and networks.

Angela Tietze

Angela Tietze, CEO-President , ECN.

“We send probably 8,000 to 10,000 instructions every single day to broadcast media outlets,” says company CEO-President Angela Tietze.

Each of those instructions is sent via email and fax, and every bit of information conveyed by those instructions has to be retrieved and entered manually into some station’s traffic system.

Things such as the name of the advertiser, the brand, the commercial code (Ad-ID or ISCI), the length of commercial and title have to be manually entered.

Throw in special instructions for last-minute, time-related buys, such as opening days for movies, commercials with newly released accolades from movie reviewers, and even special deals offered by auto makers, and the number and complexity of instructions is compounded, she says.

Allison Coquet,

Allison Coquet, senior product manager, Imagine Communications.

That is, until last week when Imagine Communications unveiled LandmarkOSI Traffic & Billing 8.4 in Orlando, Fla., at its North American user conference.

With the rollout of the latest version of the software, all of that manual entry is replaced by automated ingest of commercial instructions using SMPTE Broadcast eXchange Format, BXF, 3.0.

“One of the things we are hearing from our clients is they expect to see a 50% improvement [in terms of time savings],” says Allison Coquet, senior product manager, Imagine Communications.

Imagine, ECN and a steering committee of station personnel who use LandmarkOSI helped direct the development of version 8.4 to automate the process for ingesting instructions into the traffic system, Coquet says.

That’s a big deal, not simply because of the time saved that otherwise would be spent making manual keystrokes but also because move eliminates the possibility that a traffic worker at a station will make a data entry error, an on-air mistake will result and there will need to be a make-good, she adds.

Automating ingest of instructions also will greatly reduce time spent on the telephone to clarify instructions, which can amount to hundreds of minutes per week.

“This [manual instruction entry] was the last area to become fully automated, and it is one of the most important areas of traffic,” says Coquet.

“I think overall the advertising industry is poised to increase revenue as this 40-year manual process becomes history,” adds Tietze.

To learn more, visit the Imagine Communications website.

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