All-In-One System Solutions Are All The Rage

Networks, stations finding ways to better integrate sales and traffic
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While broadcasters and programmers work to streamline the workflows for their advertising sales, vendors have been aiding in the process, responding with new sales software that can be more tightly integrated with existing traffi cking and billing systems.

For some, this has made “all-in-one” solutions a major selling point. “With our system, you don’t have to worry about maintaining and reconciling two different systems,” says John Sorensen, president and director of Broadway Systems, which has deployed its products to cable networks that produce about $3 billion a year in ad revenue. “That allows you to manage inventory and yields in a much more efficient manner.”

Others agree. “One of the key reasons why NBCUniversal adopted our system was that it is an integrated system,” notes Tom Hultquist, director of sales engineering at SintecMedia, which has sold its OnAir broadcast management solution to ABC. “Because everything is on one system, there is no re-keying of data and no need for a cumbersome interface.”

That has also helped boost sales of Harris’ AdConnections systems. “As more of our OSi [open systems interconnection] customers [for the media management suite of software] adopt the AdConnections proposal system, we’ve seen sales grow 30% in the last two years,” says John Patrick, managing director, North American media, at Harris Broadcast Comunications.

This integration between OSi and sales tools will be further tightened in the upcoming 7.5 version release of AdConnections, which will allow salespeople real-time access to avails. “The traffic manager and salesperson will be able to work inventory data the day of air,” Patrick says.

The push to provide a wider array of offerings is also encouraging acquisitions. WideOrbit recently bought OneDomain, which offers media planning, research and business intelligence software.

But vendors also stress the importance of being able to better integrate their systems with others because broadcasters may not want to swap out their existing sales or traffic system.

Crist Myers, president and CEO of Myers Information Systems, notes that the recently released 6.06 version of its ProTrack software features major enhancements to its sales tools and user interface as well its ability to be integrated into other systems. “It has a number of improvements to accommodate future BXF enhancements that will simplify the process of integration,” Myers adds.

Other vendors stress that stations continue to focus on finding the best sales and CRM systems, which doesn’t always mean an all-in-one solution.

“Stations are looking for a best-of-breed solution with better integration,” says D.J. Cavanaugh, CEO and partner at Matrix Solutions, which recently rolled out a new version of its advertising management software that has been adopted by more than 280 stations. “It isn’t just about one solution, but the quality of the solution.”

That imperative helped convinced Journal Broadcast Group to deploy the software this spring at its stations, where it has been integrated with the WideOrbit traffic system, notes Dominic Fails, Journal Broadcast’s VP of corporate sales. “We wanted a unifi ed CRM for the group that would keep our data and reporting consistent,” he says.

E-mail comments to gpwin@oregoncoast.com and follow him on Twitter: @GeorgeWinslow

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