New Movement in Multiplatform IntegrationsTraffic and automation systems are streamlining digital distribution 7/22/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
One of the biggest pushes by both automation and traffic and billing vendors
over the last two years has involved new features and technologies to help streamline the delivery of content to multiple platforms for live linear
TV, VOD, online and mobile.
While many of the early integrations between automation
and traffic and billing systems have involved
live logs, Eric Mathewson, founder and CEO of Wide-
Orbit, notes that stations are now eyeing ways to tie
together those systems so they can better handle nonlinear
and digital content as well.
âMost of these entities manage those systems separately,
but over time I think those systems will merge,â
Mathewson says. âOver time, the promise is that the
traffic manager will have a great degree of control and
responsibility for more content, and there will be a
labor reduction in the master control areas.â
Streamlining the process of delivering multiplatform
content is key because mobile and online efforts are not
as yet producing significant revenue. âTo save costs, everyone
is searching for a way to tie it all together so you
donât have two separate systems for linear broadcasts
and digital,â says Chuck Kocsis, systems engineering
manager, product interoperability at Harris Broadcast.
âThey all see the need to be present on these platforms,
but the financial model is not so clear. So they are
turning to automation vendors for ways to get on those
platforms without increasing their operational costs,â says
Scott Rose, director of product management at Miranda.
âAt the same time,â Rose continues, âthey are asking
for ways to make it easier for traffic systems to communicate
with automation systems so it doesnât require
a whole new team of people to deliver the content. So
as customers put more emphasis on non-linear content,
we are seeing a tighter integration with [Mirandaâs
automation system] iTX with traffic, and great ability
to talk to iTX to publish the content.â
Other integrations with automation systems are allowing
more complex content, such as on-air social media
feeds or schedules for promotional materials on multiple
platforms, to be handled by the traffic operator.
In the past these more complex elements would
have to have been managed by a master control operator.
But with integrations that take advantage of
the more advanced features of newer automation
systems, traffic operators can take over those duties.
âThey have more control over delivering the correct
promotional material to the right channel and what
social media feeds they want to take to make the social
media channel work,â Ross says.
Over time, mobile devices could also play a larger
role in the new workflows created by the tighter integration
between traffic and automation systems.
Mathewson notes that the mobile app WideOrbit announced
at the 2013 National Association of Broadcasters
show allows tablet users to enter sales orders and
approve sales orders on WO Traffic. âIt is still in beta
at a half a dozen stations but will roll out pretty aggressively
over the balance of the year,â based on the
strong feedback WideOrbit has seen, Mathewson says.
Currently the app cannot be used to control live log
applications because of the difficulties of reviewing the
content on a small screen. âWe typically recommend
two 22-inch or larger screens for log manipulation because
there is a lot to look at to make the right decision,â
Mathewson says. âSo we are not going to light
up log manipulation in the short term on the app, but I
do expect it to happen over time.â