Category Archives: Traffic & Billing

KTLM McAllen Advances ’25 Years Overnight’

Inside KTLM's new control room Ross Video's OverDrive automation system simplifies newscast production. Photo: NBCU-Telemundo.

Inside KTLM’s new control room, Ross Video’s OverDrive automation system simplifies newscast production. Photos: NBCU-Telemundo.

The days of unpredictable power interruptions, local SD production and being forced to adapt to the limitations of a set rather than having the set meet its needs are in the rearview mirror for KTLM, Telemundo 40, in McAllen, Texas.

Since June 25, the station has been operating from its new 23,000-square-foot Telemundo 40 Studios on the second floor of building near downtown McAllen and the community’s city hall.

There, it produces 14 hours of news a week as well as other local programming in 1080i HD from a modern, adaptable set designed by John Casey Production Design in New York City and built by Blackwalnut in Valley Cottage, N.Y., says Jose Flores, president and GM of the station.

The driving force behind the project was NBCUniversal-Telemundo’s acquisition of KTLM in January 2014, he says. The new studio is the fifth state-of-the-art broadcast facility NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations has rolled out since 2013.

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Fox Upgrades Workflow Management Software

Fox Broadcasting is upgrading software it uses to streamline workflow efficiency network-wide with the deployment of the latest version of Thought Development Corp.’s On-Air Pro workflow management system, the company said today.

On-Air Pro, along with a suite of plug-ins, will be integrated with several existing systems, including scheduling, traffic and delivery, Thought Development said.

Fox Broadcasting and Fox Special Operations group have used On-Air Pro since 2004, a press release announcing the upgrade said.


Daystar Television Chooses Imagine For HD Upgrade

Daystar Television Network has selected Imagine Communications to upgrade its operations from SD to HD with a complete, end-to-end broadcast workflow solution, Imagine announced today.

The upgrade includes production, master control and play-to-air operations. Daystar also will replace its existing traffic and billing system with the Imagine LandmarkOSI centralized media software, which will handle its cable networks and 100 television properties.

To learn more, visit the Imagine Communications website.

WKNO Deploys NVerzion Automation

WKNO-TV, the PBS station in Memphis, Tenn., has deployed an automaton system from NVerzion to improve workflow efficiency, elevate on-air quality and lower operating expenses.

The system, NVerzion’s Component Level Automation System Solutions (CLASS), leverages a BXF traffic interface and controls equipment from a variety of vendors.

The NVerzion CLASS system is tasked with all recording, scheduling, media prep and ingest operations for the station’s HD and SD sub-channel.

More information is available on the NVerzion website.

Fox Networks Group Selects SintecMedia’s OnAir Enterprise for U.S. Networks

SintecMedia, a provider of management software to cable networks and broadcasters, has announced that Fox Networks Group has selected OnAir Enterprise for their North American broadcast networks.Logo

The software will be deployed for Fox Networks Group’s cable and broadcast networks, including FX, FXX, FXM, FOX Sports 1 and 2, FOX Soccer Plus, National Geographic channels, FOX Deportes, as well as FOX Broadcast Network and the recently launched MundoFOX.

“SintecMedia is a trusted partner as we implement our sales and traffic systems strategy,” said Ben Hope, CIO of Fox Networks Group. “OnAir demonstrated great flexibility to support the growth of our broadcast and cable business.”

OnAirBuilt on one platform, utilizing a single, core database, OnAir Enterprise is a complete broadcast management solution designed to be customized to meet the business needs of large networks.

Able to handle both broadcast and cable networks within the same system, OnAir’s built-in flexibility enables customers to match specific business practices and ensures the system will meet current and future needs.

Used by leading broadcasters throughout the world, SintecMedia has extensive experience integrating with large, complex organizations and brings professional implementation and project management support to enterprise projects.

OnAir Enterprise manages the business critical functions of the advertising revenue stream including ad sales, traffic, programming, scheduling, promotions, rights management and billing for both linear and non-linear cable and broadcast networks.

Built as a single, all-in-one system, it is the only software on the market to manage the entire broadcast business lifecycle.

Among SintecMedia’s more than 300 clients worldwide are NBCUniversal, CBC Canada, Comcast, Fox, Scripps and Televisa Mexico. SintecMedia has offices in New York, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Denver, London and Jerusalem.

Myers Live Log Lets Operators Adjust Logs In Playlist

Myers Live Log Lets Operators Adjust Logs In PlaylistTraffic and billing software maker Myers has a new product that aims to make spot adjustments on the fly significantly easier.

This week, the company, whose customers include a majority of PBS stations and several low power television stations, introduced Live Log, a solution that lets traffic personnel make changes after logs go into automation.

Traditionally, a master control operator needs to make changes manually in the automation if something pops up, like an advertiser coming in last minute and needing to place an unexpected spot. Live Log enables a person from traffic to adjust the log while it’s in play.

The solution takes advantage of BXF 1.0 and 2.0 protocols, but shouldn’t be confused with recent work around BXF 3.0, which I outlined last week on Playout.

“BXF 3.0 has taken the standard and gone beyond just traffic and automation integration,” says Crist Myers, president and CEO of Myers. “It’s really applying the standard to different types of inputs and outputs for traffic systems. It’s more geared toward working with advertising agencies, and we very much are excited and welcome this evolution in the BXF standard. Anything that focuses more on standards for communications, we’re 100 percent behind.”

BXF 3.0 Aims To Save Time With Automatic Data Entry

BXF 3.0 Aims To Save Time With Automatic Data EntryThe newest Broadcast Exchange Format (BXF) will allow traffic and billing operators at TV stations to say goodbye to the days of manual data entry when it comes to the scheduling of spots.

Next month, The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is going to unveil Broadcast Exchange Format 3.0, the latest traffic and billing file format for broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies, that will automate scheduling data entry at the station level.

“This is one of the last frontiers of manual data entry that’s left, in terms of large data entry,” says Christopher Lennon, president and CEO of MediAnswers, and one of the developers of BXF 3.0. “It’s kind of appalling that, here we are in 2013, and this data is still flowing across in the form of faxes and emails.”

Lennon and Angela Tietze, president of Entertainment Communications Network, are set to present about BXF 3.0 at next month’s SMPTE annual conference.

Up until today, the scheduling of commercials has been a manual process. With BXF 3.0, when agencies schedule the commercials, they’ll be able to use a BXF XML-based file that will transfer in a format that’s going to be ingestible right into a broadcaster’s traffic system.

Rather than someone typing in that information, the system would detect it and automatically input that scheduling information.

“The agencies and the broadcast media have really focused for the last 30 years on the order and invoice, and for obvious reasons,” says Tietze. “We’re trying to move the industry forward, in terms of automation, so those people can focus on actually reviewing, managing and approving the instructions before it’s ingested into their system, versus being in the data-entry business.”

Lennon says it’s embarrassing that it’s taken the industry this long to get to this point, but says it was clear that this type of technology was needed.

“The motivation to solve it now is that the sheer volume is going through the roof,” he says. “People are delivering content to various platforms. We’re beyond the days of when broadcasters have just a single channel.”

TVNewsCheck reported on traffic and billing technology earlier this year.

Lennon and Tietze spent 18 months with a working group made up of industry professionals, including the major traffic and billing vendors, to come up with BXF 3.0. Both anticipate a quick rollout.

“I’d expect some news around NAB about vendors beginning to support this,” says Lennon.

Vendors, Like WideOrbit and Harris Broadcast, will have to update ether software to support BXF 3.0.

SintecMedia Takes Traffic & Billing To The Cloud

SintecMedia Takes Traffic, Billing To The Cloud

Israeli news channel i24 News is the first to launch SintecMedia’s new cloud-based traffic and billing software called CloudOnAir, and the broadcast management software provider plans to market the new solution in the U.S. starting in early 2014.

“We are excited to offer this new solution that changes the way small broadcast channels run their business,” Amos Simantov, EVP sales, said in a statement.

CloudOnAir is designed for smaller broadcast operations, and will be specifically geared toward smaller cable networks initially in the U.S., followed by smaller station groups, says Tom Hultquist, director of sales engineering at SintectMedia.

“We’re rolling it out first internationally, and probably early next year, will be pushing it more domestically,” says Hultquist.

i24, which broadcasts in English, French and Arabic, is now live using the new software solution.

CloudOnAir is a lighter version of OnAir, the company’s flagship traffic and billing software that the likes of NBCUniversal and CBC Canada use for daily operations. Clients access their traffic and billing software via a web browser from anywhere with an Internet connection. SintecMedia is using a third party, similar to Amazon Web Services, to host the servers where the traffic and billing data is stored.

Hultquist says traffic and billing operators wouldn’t notice a big difference working between OnAir and CloudOnAir.

“The real difference comes in with the speed to get everything up and running,” says Hultquist. “Basically, you sign on and away you go.”

Clients pay a monthly fee to use the service, but don’t have to worry about installing any hardware or software. Clients will also receive online webinars for training and 24/7 tech support.