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Software Companies Mobile-ize for Vegas

RELATED: Stations Look for Help to Do More With Less

Let the Sales Force Be With You

Mobile revenue may be small, but it’s growing and will continue to do so. And vendors of traffic and billing software, which are helping push that growth along, are introducing mobile arena software improvements in Las Vegas at the National Association of Broadcasters Show, which runs through April 11. The developments will help broadcasters track ads on content sent to smartphones and tablets and also allow executives to tap into sales tools on the go.

Both trends are evident in new features being demoed at NAB by WideOrbit. “Everyone wants to be more productive and address the fact that they are now selling not just TV but digital, online, mobile,” says Eric Mathewson, founder and CEO of WideOrbit, which markets its WO Traffic product to more than 2,400 stations worldwide.

To speed up the sales process, WideOrbit will be showing an app that will allow users to access order entry features on the iPad. “We are starting with order entry and over time will add more features,” says Mathewson. “It will help stations keep salespeople on the street and better utilize their time in front of clients and advertisers.”

Also during the NAB meeting, WideOrbit will be showing both its WO Mobile product, which is designed to help stations build viewer loyalty on mobile and social media platforms, and its business intelligence software WO Analytics, which has already been launched by about 120 stations.

Traffic in the Cloud

Pilat Media will be launching a Web-hosted version of its Integrated Broadcast Management System (IBMS) called IBMS Express. “It is a cloud-hosted [version] of our larger enterprise package,” says John Larrabee, VP of the Americas at Pilat Media. “It is a kind of scaled-down version for smaller cable channels or broadcasters.”

Also at NAB, Pilat will be showing the latest release of IBMS Rights, a centralized rights management system for handling the distribution of content across multiple platforms, and its OTTilus Online Video Platform (OVP), an over-the-top solution for delivering live, catch-up and VOD services.

“Demand for applications to deal with mobile has really picked up,” Larrabee adds.

Harris Broadcasting will be launching the 7.6 version of its OSi-Traffic software. “It will be mobile ordercapable,” so executives can approve orders from their iPhone or iPad, notes John Patrick, managing director, North American media at Harris Broadcast. “We continue to move core features to iPhones that will allow executives to do business outside the office.”

Other notable upgrades in the OSi software platform include expanded multiplatform capabilities. “We are expanding the OSi platform to include dynamic ads in streaming and mobile,” Patrick says. “Stations can do a single order across all media types, place the ads and target them.”

For NVerzion, the focus at NAB will be on smaller stations and channels with lower-cost solutions. “We are offering a $9,000 solution for [digital subchannels], community channels, religious broadcasters and smaller markets that can’t afford” the major trafficking and billing systems that might cost as much as $1,500 per month per channel, according to NVerzion president Scott Murphy.

Murphy sees a particularly promising market in digital subchannels. “We think this will be a big deal this year and next year, as people try to figure out how to sell these channels,” he says.

MAM on Demand

During NAB, Myers Information Systems will be showing a number of improvements to its ProTrack broadcast management suite, notes the company’s president and CEO Crist Myers.

These include ProTrack TV’s Media Asset Management Module (MAM) and the ProTrack On-Demand Module.

“On-Demand gives [broadcasters] a more streamlined way of handling not only linear but non-linear to mobile and online websites, as well as cable MSOs and virtually any non-linear platform,” Myers says.

NAB will also see cross-platform ad sales systems company Invision demoing its new integrated sales and traffic system, DealMaker Crossroad (DMC), according to the company’s senior VP of sales and marketing, Mike Zablocki.

Invision has offered up DealMaker since the 1990s and in 2004 developed a traffic solution for national syndication. “But we didn’t have a unified solution for traffic for cable and broadcast,” Zablocki says.

To create a unified system, Invision acquired the code for the Crossroad software system developed by Turner and has integrated it with DealMaker to create the DMC solution. The system is particularly strong in the multiplatform area because Turner developed its own system to help handle multiplatform distribution and TV Everywhere deals.

“You have the ability to sell across linear and nonlinear and advanced TV platforms and to place spots and view inventory in a real-time basis,” Zablocki says. Bloomberg TV has been the first channel to adopt DMC after Turner.

In 2013 and 2014, the company is also looking to adapt DMC to the local station market.

Consolidation and Commitment

Over the last year, the traffic and billing sector has seen some consolidation and ownership changes, with WideOrbit acquiring OneDomain and SintecMedia buying media software company Argo Systems and rights management software company StorerTV.

In addition, Harris spun off its Harris Broadcasting division, which was acquired by the Los Angeles-based investment firm The Gores Group.

Mike Oldham, Harris’ senior VP for global media sales, notes that, “The Gores Group is very supportive of the media business product inside Harris Broadcast. We see it as a very important segment of the business and are planning to invest heavily in it to grow and expand our footprint in North American stations.”

Since July, Harris has added about 70 new stations to the OSi platform, says Patrick.

Jay Batista, executive VP at SintecMedia, stressed his company’s commitment to strengthening and improving StorerTV’s SIMS platform. “We will be showing version 5.0 at NAB [for a summer launch] and are working on 6.0 for next year,” Batista says.