Tag Archives: traffic

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.


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.

Article Examines Drone Use By Radio Stations

Television broadcasters are likely to be joined in the skies by their radio brethren looking to use drones for newsgathering, including traffic reporting.

Radio Ink magazine has published “Could Drones Be Used For Radio Reporting?,” which is an interesting story on where things stand.

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.

TrafficLand Unveils iPad App For On-Air Weather, Traffic

Live traffic aggregator TrafficLand unveiled Broadcast 4.0 Tuesday, a new service for TV station news operations to customize content for on-air traffic and weather reporting on the fly.

The software includes access to an Enterprise License for Google Maps and flow-data, plus real-time video from thousands of state and local department of transportation traffic cameras across the U.S. The video above gives a demonstration of the new software.

Currently, the software is only available on Apple’s iPad.

Lawrence Nelson, TrafficLand CEO, calls the app a complete traffic reporting solution for TV news operations.

“Together, real-time video and flow-data tell the story about traffic and weather conditions like nothing else — and the fact that the service costs thousands of dollars less per month than anything comparable is another big plus in these budget conscious times,” he said in a statement.