Faced with a sluggish market for traditional TV advertising, suppliers of traffic and billing software will be offering networks and stations a variety of new solutions for cutting costs and capitalizing on new revenue streams from programmatic and advanced advertising at this week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas.
While the pursuit of efficiency has been a consistent theme in ad operations for years, the NAB will see some particularly notable advances. “Efficiency is more important than ever because there are a lot of challenges in trying to grow your revenue 10% or 20%,” says Crist Myers, CEO of Myers Information Systems, which will be showing a number of improvements to its ProTrack Broadcast Management System. “But there are a lot of ways we can help cut operating costs 10% to 30%.”
The idea of streamlining workflows to help clients cut costs while offering new tools to expand revenue has driven improvements to Broadway Systems’ platform for managing traffic, billing and advertising sales, says James Ackerman, executive chairman.
And to help clients take advantage of newer advertising opportunities, Ackerman notes that “we have now developed a number of new features that will support dynamic ad insertion around VOD content” and have added tools to explore programmatic advertising. “At NAB we will be showing our first integration to a programmatic marketplace with placemedia,” he says.
At the same time, Broadway has added features to streamline workflows and simplify the process of handling buys with such improvements to their “advanced quarterly brand allocation, re-weighting,” and other tools. “It is designed to literally shave hours off someone’s job,” says Steve Falk, Broadway chief software architect.
Another notable development in streamlining workflows can be found at Imagine Communications. Its new Land-markOSI Traffic & Billing 8.4 software will be the first system to receive traffic instructions electronically with the Broadcast eXchange Format (BXF) 3.0 standard, reports Sarah Foss, VP of product management, advertising management systems at Imagine, who says they partnered with Entertainment Communications Network on the system.
This is important because “for years, clients have had to manually type copy instructions from e-mail and faxes into traffic and billing systems,” Foss says. “Our automated copy feature will electronically confirm and accept income instructions.”
Imagine has also announced new tools for cloud-based advanced advertising systems and later in the year will roll out new advertising sales management features that will allow execs to have a much greater array of tools on mobile devices.
In addition to adding a number of tools to improve workflows, SintecMedia has been testing its programmatic ad platform with Fox Networks International in Finland and is rolling it out in the U.S. “We are partnering with Visible World to work with their AudienceXpress programmatic platform for linear TV,” says Geoff Nagel, VP of go-to-market strategy at SintecMedia. “Programmatic is a huge focus for us.”
The NAB Show will also see the widespread rollout of WideOrbit’s programmatic advertising platform, which has been tested by a number of major station groups and has already been used to buy ads for the Super Bowl and the Oscars, reports Geoff Coco, director of product management at WideOrbit. The company’s technology is already being used by more than 80% of all stations in North America, and manages about $30 billion in annual ad spending on TV stations, radio and cable networks.
Coco notes that they will be adding additional demand- side markets to the platform and are working to expand their focus beyond the broadcast stations served in the initial release. “Cable networks are very high on the agenda,” Coco says.
Arden Ten Broeck, product manager at WO Traffic, adds that they are also investing heavily on reducing workflows by tightly integrating different modules and by tying together technologies from a number of recent acquisitions to create a unified platform for handling both TV and digital. “We are creating one comprehensive system to manage and monetize multiple platforms,” she says.
FOR AUTOMATION, IT’S SHOWTIME
NAB will see a new entrant into the automation sector following Bitcentral’s acquisition of Fission Software, and the incorporation of that automation system into Bitcentral’s new Central Control offering.
Rick Young, VP and general manager of sales and business development at Bitcentral, says the deal will allow them to expand the reach of its widely used software for media content creation, management and distribution into master control automation. In addition, Fission’s presence in Latin America will help them expand into the region with existing products.
Both companies also have a similar focus on simplifying operations, which has allowed them to make great strides in integrating the new product. “What has differentiated Bitcentral in the news space is that we offer elegantly simple solutions,” Young says, adding that this has also been the case with Fission. “The new Control Central has a very simple interface that is very easy to learn.”
Looking forward, the company sees a number of opportunities to integrate master control automation with their systems for collaborating on the production of news, managing content and sharing content. For example, news, promotional departments and master controls often have separate IT-based servers. Integrating the software systems for all three would allow them to use just one server. “There are a lot of ways that we think these integrations could save time and reduce capital expenditures,” he says.
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