New top management appointments at PROVYS
New top management appointments at PROVYS
Monika Zabadalová has been appointed the new Director of Human Resources and Petr Adamec the new Director of Operations at PROVYS as of November 1, 2020.
Monika & Petr’s appointment continues the process of change at PROVYS that started in the autumn of 2019. The aim of these changes is to strengthen the company’s position on the international market of broadcast management systems. They will both report in their roles directly to Josef Vašica, CEO of DCIT, a.s.
Monika’s appointment follows her long-standing cooperation with both DCIT divisions, the Security division and PROVYS. Monika will be responsible for the company’s HR agenda, focusing on the development of leadership, talent, and internal communication.
“Our customers‘ needs are changing today more than ever and we want to continue to support them in their daily activities through our products and services. That is why it is important to make sure the skills of our employees correspond to this new reality. And I want to focus on that presently, “
said Monika about her appointment.
Monika has been working in the HR field for more than 12 years. Previously she worked at JOBPOINT, where she provided consultations, recruitment services and career counseling to corporate clients from various industries. She graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Economics in Bratislava.
Petr will be responsible for the Delivery and Technology Department. He is an experienced program and project manager, and his main priority will be to increase the efficiency of our implementation projects.
“I see PROVYS as a major player in the market for software solutions for television companies. And we will continue to build on that. Our task will be to increase the speed and efficiency of our implementation projects by strengthening the cooperation of our specialists within our teams.”
said Petr Adamec about his new role.
Petr has more than 20 years of experience with international projects in the field of IT, telco, finance and banking. His latest work experience was at Thales (formerly Gemalto), where he worked as Senior Project Manager for the past 5 years. Before Thales, he was also involved with SAS, Hewlett-Packard, Telefonica O2 and ČSOB as a project manager. Petr is a graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague.
PROVYS is Helping Broadcasters Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
PROVYS has been on the broadcast market for 23 years, survived several economic crises and gone through numerous trends. For us at PROVYS, all these years has meant a lot of learning and growing with our customers. We have been there when they achieved success but also during the difficult times too, but we are always ready to tackle new challenges. So in the time of the current COVID-19 crisis, PROVYS is ready to help, offering you professional support and consultancy.
At the same time, we have come up with the following things that can quickly help broadcasters:
Make use of managed services. Now on demand more than ever!
PROVYS understands the implications of this unhappy period full of restrictions on travel and personal contact. We have to react to new needs, new ways of implementation as well as SLAs. Therefore, we have gone to great lengths to offer PROVYS products in the cloud and also made them available as a managed service. This will allow you to reduce the deployment time to a minimum and bring your services to viewers faster than ever.
Start quickly a new channel with PROVYS Everywhere
Start a new channel quickly, it might even be a web, IPTV or niche TV channel. At present, broadcasters are forced to react to market changes almost on a daily basis. You may want to reach you viewers with monothematic channels devoted to certain topics or age groups. As a bonus, we will be glad to offer you our own software playout solution. If you are looking for a partner that will solve this problem quickly and comprehensively, PROVYS is the one to rely on.
Reach more viewers with PROVYS OnDemand Bridge
Digital consumption and streaming are seeing rapid growth nowadays. So here is your chance to publish your content online and reach higher audience levels with PROVYS OnDemand Bridge. The product is well suited to help broadcasters in the current crisis with cost-effective non-linear services. It also has a significant impact in terms of cost management, effective use of rights, revenue maximizing and maintaining control over the entire environment of both linear and non-linear broadcasting.
What Makes Public Broadcasters Tick?
When British inventor John Logie Baird first presented a functional television system on 25 March, 1925, in London, nobody could have possibly predicted that within less than 100 years, the average westerner would spend 10 years of their life watching TV. Following his invention, TV broadcasting developed mainly as a public service, being the domain of governments (except for the business-oriented US, unsurprisingly). Europe learned its lesson from the US after the Second World War and allowed the introduction of commercial TV broadcasting. The focus of this article will be principally on the development and current operating methodologies of the public sector. The principal objective of public broadcasters is public service, i.e. “speaking to and engaging as a citizen”. The British model is generally accepted as a standard definition and embodies the following characteristics: universal geographic accessibility in which all parts of the nation must be serviced; universal appeal by which all sectors of the community must be able to find something interesting; attention must be given to minorities in order to achieve balance, a feeling of inclusion, a contribution to national identity and a sense of community; a clear distance from commercially vested interests; funding from either licence fees or taxation together with a certainty of universality of payment; striving for quality programming rather than financial figures, and regulatory guidelines that liberate rather than restrict broadcasting content.
“These solutions can provide a shining example of how technology can save costs and light the way to a bright future for broadcasters”
In addition to the general guidelines, every public broadcaster should also encourage technological innovation, maintaining a leading position in research and development in line with its mission. On the subject of technology, it is incumbent to work in partnership with other organisations and to deploy the highest standards of R&D and new technologies. Today, these technologies are advancing at breakneck speed; viewers’ expectations are growing at a similar rate. It is, therefore, necessary for all technologies associated with both operations and management to keep pace with these rapid developments. A classic example of such change would be television archives which have transitioned from huge physical libraries of reels through digital cassettes and into different types of digital storage.
Whilst in the past, we had miles of shelves of structured and well-described content which required physical manipulation together with a perfect description and categorisation of the content, today, the modern broadcast station has made its life easier by storing such content on highly accessible servers. Using a modern management tool such as Provys, operators can exploit all the benefits of full-text search, automation and even AI to locate and retrieve any required content, literally in a split second. Thus, broadcasters can do much more with less, meaning less time, effort and staff, to improve efficiency and the general quality of programming, including, for example, catering to minority interests, which may require different operational procedures. And this is particularly important in the public service sector which usually operates with licensing conditions that require this. By choosing a supplier with wide experience in this sphere, a public broadcaster can be empowered, even with their fixed budget limitations, to compete successfully with commercial stations who enjoy the advantage of more flexibility and funding options. In addition to daily operations such as planning, scheduling and traffic, modern software-based management tools are also extremely useful in reducing costs and streamlining the complex tasks of in-house production, a traditional activity of public service broadcasters. Furthermore, these systems, especially resource management and capacity planning, are able to shine an “IT spotlight” on the activities of operatives, alongside the spotlights which illuminate the events in the production studio. As a result, “the introduction of such modern systems may experience resistance from operatives who have previously been able to somewhat hide their efficiency in the shadows. But invariably, these solutions can provide a shining example of how technology can save costs and light the way to a bright future for broadcasters” says Jan Hrdlicka, Managing Director, Provys.
Celebration of Young Talent at IBC
Returning again from the IBC in Amsterdam, I am now a little more optimistic about the future of the media industries, particularly broadcasting. I feel that this year brought a lot of new young blood to the show, heralding the long-awaited new generation who the dinosaurs, such as myself, hope to get to know with a view to sharing our knowledge and experience, before we bequeath the heavy responsibilities inherent in this rapidly developing sector to them.
The IBC 2019 has reported a rise in total attendance for this year’s show to 56,390 from 55,884 attendees compared to the IBC 2018. Most significant, however, is that the number of attendees, aged 35 and under, increased by 10% year-on-year, which is a record increase according to the organisers. This statistical trend follows closely the shift from hardware to software in our industry illustrating the need to leave behind ancient expressions such as PAL and SECAM which have been consigned to the history lessons as opposed to the modern classroom. Curious millennial technicians can, of course, attend a few history lessons in order to discover why we still use some old techniques such as interlaced frames to fool our eyes and save more and more expensive bandwidth.
It is admirable that the organisers of the IBC recognise and welcome this development, and as an illustration of their support, they introduced this year, for the first time, the IBC Young Pioneer Award as one of their future regular categories. The aim of this award is to acknowledge the welcome entry of a new wave of bright industry talent. The IBC’s intention is to award a young professional who has made a real impact with their passion, ambition and commitment and is making an outstanding contribution to our industry. The winner of the first Young Pioneer Award was Vera Bichler, a graduate of the Broadcast Academy, and the first female director of football programmes for ORF in Austria. Congratulations to Vera! “What we were looking for from the candidates was, most importantly, real talent, an outstanding individual making a real difference in the industry,” said David Levine, VP, Programming – Kids, Europe and Africa/UK & Ireland, The Walt Disney Co. Ltd and chair of the judging panel. “But we were also looking for a lasting legacy, for the Young Pioneer to be a leader today and a media guru of the future.”
“IBC 2019 was a non-stop round of networking, fruitful meetings, late night discussions, interesting product launches and valuable conference sessions”
The presence of young blood was clearly visible at this year’s exhibition and perfectly illustrated by Karel Votroubek (30 something), Commercial Director, Provys, who brought his young army of professionals with him to the show. As Karel observed: “IBC 2019 was a non-stop round of networking, fruitful meetings, late night discussions, interesting product launches and valuable conference sessions facilitating the learning and sharing of ideas with the considerable number of movers and shakers present at the show. 2019 also gave us an increase in the number of top broadcasting executives that we met. This year, we introduced four new keenly anticipated products offering more independence to broadcasters, based on a standard essential platform which can later be expanded and customised, as required. The new members of our portfolio are: Provys Everywhere which provides an extendable workflow management basis for broadcast operations; Provys Traffic Drive which offers all traffic functions in one integrated package; Provys Network Pilot which allows central management of multi-national linear operations allowing individual features in each country, and Provys OnDemand Bridge which delivers VOD workflow automation.” And so, with young blood increasingly at the helm, we can be a little more optimistic for the future, and look forward to their influence charting new courses through the stormy waters and challenging developments of the media and entertainment industry.
Broadcast Technology Reigns in Spain
“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.” Do not worry, we are not going to teach you the correct way to pronounce the diphthong “ai:” or “ei”. Actually, there are better topics about Spain to open a sparkling conversation in the high society of the television industry. For broadcast engineers and consultants, Madrid and Barcelona, the principal administrative and cultural cities of Spain, belong to the most enjoyable places in Europe to work (see the picture of the Palace of Communications, Madrid). It is no coincidence that AMC Networks International Southern Europe (AMCNISE) have their main offices in these two superb locations.
New York-based AMC Networks owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning brands in television and film, including the cable networks AMC, BBC AMERICA (through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv, as well as premium streaming video services Sundance Now, Shudder, Acorn TV, UMC and AMC Premiere. Its holdings also include independent film production and distribution division, IFC Films, television production and worldwide content distribution division, AMC Studios, and international programming business, AMC Networks International.
Their operations in Spain are channeled through AMC Networks International Southern Europe, a Madrid and Barcelona-based television company running HD and UHD channels in Spain, Portugal, and France. They produce and distribute thematic television channels for these markets, designed for all types of audiences: cinema and series (AMC, Canal Hollywood, Sundance TV, XTRM, Somos, Dark, and Blast); factual (Odisea, Historia, Crimen+Investigación, and Blaze); lifestyle (Canal Cocina and Canal Decasa); music (Sol Musica); and children’s (Canal Panda and Biggs). They have also recently launched Planet Horror, the first and only direct-to-consumer service of horror films in Spain, in partnership with RedRum.
In 2017, AMCNISE decided to upgrade its broadcast management software and opened a tender inviting bids from several vendors in the market. The final decision on implementing Provys solutions was supported by the advanced functionalities of their applications, their flexibility and their full support on complying with the “end-to-end” needs of AMCNISE’s processes. A local implementation partner, Datos Media Technologies, was also selected to provide on-site project support and expertise.
“AMCNISE’s vibrant and growing business requires advanced technology solutions, and in this new era, it’s important for all broadcasters to upgrade to the latest management software,” says Jan Fiser, Main Consultant for AMCNISE at Provys. “In addition to providing a first-class scheduling system, we are also supplying a powerful control tool which allows AMCNISE to track their end-to-end broadcast operations. Special thanks must be given to Jose Nabais, CTO at AMCNISE, who with his team gave invaluable support to the implementation of the project.”
“AMCNISE’s vibrant and growing business requires advanced technology solutions, and in this new era, it’s important for all broadcasters to upgrade to the latest management software”
The technical requirements demanded first-class integration of Provys with Tedial, a respected MAM solution, in particular, non-stop communication regarding the preparation of content for delivery, including requesting, confirming, quality control and positioning for playout. Further integration for playout was required with Marina, a renowned playout automation solution from Pebble Beach Systems which is also to facilitate 4K (UHD) delivery. A further technical challenge for Provys in this multichannel organisation was the configuration of user access rights to ensure confidentiality within each programme group. “Implementing an enterprise broadcast management solution in such a complex organisation as AMCNISE is a huge and demanding professional task, for which, we did not need that infamous ‘Little Bit of Luck’. On completion, the whole project was a sheer delight for the Provys team” added Jan Fiser, Main Consultant and Famous Dancer, who then ‘Could Have Danced All Night’. Wouldn’t It Have Been Loverly?
My Fair Lady, a famous English musical, soundtrack:
- Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?
- With a Little Bit of Luck
- Rain in Spain
- I Could Have Danced All Night
Elevating Work into a Dream Job
Any broadcast system developer would consider it a “dream job” to enter into a long-term partnership with such a highly regarded global player as Viasat World, a leading international TV company offering 27 Pay TV channels in 50+ countries together with non-linear on-demand services in many different territories. Their international team produces, curates and distributes to a massive network of content verticals including acquisitions from Hollywood, international and local studios and production companies.
When Viasat World were reviewing their workflow management systems, particularly scheduling, rights and content management, they opened a tender with strict requirements to replace their legacy systems and procedures. These previous systems were based on two different standard broadcast management systems which were available some years ago together with programmes from the Microsoft Office Suite. Provys were selected to make system updates and the transition in programme scheduling, rights and content management on one consolidated database platform which would offer the following advantages: unified workflows, perfect collaboration between different departments, all posted information to be available and shared to the whole team on a real-time basis, the removal of repetition and duplication in the workflow processes and the elimination of human errors. In particular, the non-linear department is ecstatic because operators can now access data with simply a few clicks, for example, the validity of content rights for non-linear delivery.
For the project management, they prudently recognised that such a mammoth task now required external professional consultancy to handle the complexities of changing, upgrading, integrating and generally improving all aspects of their operations. For this top-level task, they selected Posterity ~ Milestone (www.posterity.co.uk), a trusted project delivery partner to worldwide clients for over 20 years. In particular, Posterity provide delivery capability and innovative consulting services. They focus predominantly on broadcasting, media, telecoms and digital transformations in the private sector and public service and government. It was Viasat World’s initiative to bring in Posterity as project managers who would sit in the middle of the supplier/purchaser matrix, focusing entirely on resolving differences and completing the project on time and on budget. Further discussion of the advantages of this methodology will be presented in greater depth in future articles.
“When we started our project analysis, we were surprised at the range and scope of the requirements of Viasat World especially regarding the number of interfaces to be included in the new system. But we drew upon our depth of experience in this sector and submitted proposals to match the demands of the whole operation”says Ondrej Marik, Main Consultant for Viasat World, Provys.
“Seamless delivery of detailed programme schedules is required round the clock to playout centres in different countries, different time zones and different languages, including Russian. In addition, we needed to integrate with many other systems such as: MAM by Mediaflex, advertising sales software (e.g. Polsat Media), rights agency reporting (e.g. Soundmouse), language translation systems for EPG (e.g. PAWA), etc. Finally, Viasat World really appreciated our commitment to on-site training of their users.”
The project started in Q2 2018 and the “go-live” date is now imminent. Dreams are normally over-night sensations, but the high level of open and flexible communication enabled Provys to go beyond the call of duty, spending some extra time to create the best possible solution for Viasat World.
Different Interests, Different Pressures
The fifty thousand delegates who congregate at the annual IBC represent the elite movers and shakers of the media industries, and as such, their views and conceptions of the business are influenced by their own experiences and business objectives. As a result, their “expert” opinions may differ slightly from the middle majority opinions as would be shown on a typical demographic Gaussian curve designed to illustrate how the average person would consume his/her media and entertainment diet.
The broadcasting industry is under conflicting pressures from the different interests in the market. These include, for example, the younger generation who watch content from a wide choice of broadcasters and on-demand service providers, on a number of portable devices, in an infinite variety of locations and are, therefore, not too concerned about the resolution and technical quality. Further pressures come from those consumers who invest in the highest quality devices and consequently, they are sometimes disappointed if they do not enjoy the highest quality reception. These two groups are in contrast to the average domestic viewer who sees TV as a means of escape at the end of a hard day, and is not too concerned about the quality of the picture and sound. The truth is, that although they possess cheap but good quality HD receivers, they are nevertheless mostly fed a diet of artificially upscaled SD fare.
“Revenue streams in both the traditional linear and on-demand sectors are still strong and quite stable.”
Relatively new major players come from the telco industry who now enjoy a considerable portion of the bandwidth and use this advantage to develop their own media and entertainment business. They come not only with traditional linear delivery e.g. live sports, but also with new platforms and generally non-linear means of delivery. Provys has been working closely with some of the major telcos, such as BT Sport, and not being too immodest, I should say that they are entirely satisfied with our support when entering the media and entertainment domain. Finally, we would like to mention the big global on-demand content providers such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney who have experienced colossal non-linear growth in the last few years, taking a huge share of available investment for their developing business models, being both subscription and advertising based.
Only time will tell if their commercial operations will produce a sustainable balance between attractive and money-making content.
Twenty years ago, the doomsayers of the media and entertainment industry were assuring us of the imminent death of linear TV on account of the rapidly developing non-linear means of delivery. Our experience from implementing Provys workflow solutions demonstrates that their fears were ill-founded as revenue streams in both the traditional linear, and on-demand sectors are still strong and quite stable. Provys develops sophisticated software for both linear and non-linear operators and we look forward to welcoming you on our stand, 2B49, at every IBC.
For the Rest of Our Lives
Enormous changes in office design in the last fifteen years have seen the introduction of many non-business extras, the purpose of which is to pamper the rare and over-stressed grey matter of the specialists employed to improve the bottom line of their companies’ profit and loss accounts. Such extras probably started with the famous Google “chill out room”, and were soon followed by other innovations such as hot desking, biophilic design, water features such as fountains, fish tanks, tropical plants, etc., dedicated task areas, fully-equipped fancy kitchens with sophisticated coffee and snack-vending machines, games rooms, miniature libraries and more. And therefore, some geeks actually go to work to rest.
Focusing now on the world of media, famous for its reliance on modern technologies, we can draw interesting contrasts between the business of broadcasting and the software and hardware developers who service this sector. Broadcasters, exceptionally, operate in a unique environment in which entertainment, creativity, excitement and enjoyment are present in abundance 24/7, and whose operatives, therefore, are observed to have less of a tendency to seek chill out escapism in order to get through their demanding, high pressure workloads. On the other hand, highly-qualified specialists on the technological and manufacturing side of the media sector tend to expect the full range of top-level executive amusements and toys, perhaps not quite to the Google level of sophistication, but certainly enough to meet their stressed-out, chill out requirements.
As an example, let us now have a look at the famous brand, Provys, and how they keep their programmers, IT consultants, developers, sales staff, etc., continually motivated in an ever-changing, fast-moving environment.
“Finding and keeping top quality staff is a continual challenge, especially when the demand for such employees is growing constantly.”
“We have adopted a number of strategies within our company to ensure that we attract the best of the best and then work continuously to keep them happy and motivated even though the work-life balance is more and more under pressure” says Monika Zabadalova, HR Recruiting Manager, Provys. “The work in our company is never boring and the concept of ‘routine’ simply does not exist. Our staff are frequently called upon to travel the world negotiating, analysing, developing, implementing, training and supporting complex projects and solutions, meeting a whole range of interesting colleagues, communicating in different languages, and always maintaining a positive attitude and a happy smile. Of course, their business life is heavy on adrenalin, often pushing the limits, yet requiring 100% reliability and professional calmness in the face of frequently unpredictable circumstances.”
Some twenty years ago, when Provys was little more than a start-up, the social area within the company consisted of only one kitchen with its obligatory coffee machine, water-cooler, fridge and dish-washer. Conversations took place here in between current projects and a small number of staff were relatively satisfied until their numbers started to grow. An additional kitchen was added with enhanced coffee facilities, soon to be followed by new offices, even better kitchens complete with multi-screen TV facilities, soft chairs, sofas and even more drinks and snack vending facilities. Trying to pander to their own intellectual capacities, the specialists started to bring in complex jigsaw puzzles for further entertainment in the kitchens. This showed management that the grey matter still required yet further, and alternative stimulation even when exhausted following hours of demanding, creative enterprise. This led quite logically to the establishment of the company chill-out room, furnished with comfortable chairs and sofas, large-screen TV facilities, a play-station with a wide assortment of games including their favourite, Formula 1, a dartboard and a collection of jigsaw puzzles, some of whose unbelievably complex templates originated in-house. Great things amuse great minds.
These great minds, in general, in the broadcasting industry are employed increasingly in ever more demanding specialisations which inherently leads to the necessity to take a rest and re-charge one’s batteries. Failure to recognise this need can result in “burn-out”, system instability and even increased staff turnover. Good managers must utilise every psychological trick in the book to recruit and keep the best employees, perhaps for the rest of their lives, and part of their magic includes the chill out or re-charge room.
Til Death Us Do Part
Successful marriages last forever and the husband and wife both fully understand the underlying principles of their enduring relationship. We should consider exactly what these principles are because the same reasoning is also fundamental to any long-lasting commercial relationship, for example, in broadcasting. We all know that a bride-to-be will ask herself at least twice if the intended bride groom is really the right choice for her. In a way, the bride is the broadcaster who is considering the purchase of new, but expensive software to improve workflows in their media operations. The bride groom, i.e. the software supplier/developer, must make himself attractive, understandable, appropriate, adaptable, with a strong and pristine genetic and historical reputation together with good prospects. A well-developed sense of humour can also prove beneficial.
In the same way that the wedding is the gateway to marital integration and happiness, so in the hard world of broadcasting, all the same principles are tested to the limit and we can look now at how large system integration projects are managed with a view to creating commercial satisfaction. Following completion of a successful sale contract, the suppliers’ consultants will visit the organisation in order to analyse the existing workflows and future requirements of the new client. Long experience shows that in order to reduce the project workload, related costs and to increase transparency, it is advisable to first implement only the basic package which will almost certainly meet the immediate needs of the client. User training can now start, and during this period, further system options can be implemented. A gap analysis is then undertaken to assess the further detailed requirements of the broadcaster, allowing proper customisation, thereby saving considerable time and money which frequently arises when all aspects of the project are attempted together at the start. See the diagram.
“It is important to stress that certain conditions are required to be fulfilled prior to implementing the basic package.”
“These conditions include: perfect system documentation, thorough system testing and a clear roadmap for future upgrades” says Roman Barton, Head of Provys Project Teams, and continues: “following which, we implement the minimum viable solution with its standard features, no matter how large the broadcaster. This allows us to reduce the implementation risk factors whilst minimising the exacting demands of the deployment process.”
Current project management methodology, when engaged in the delivery of projects to worldwide customers, can be understood as a combination of the following inputs: best practice within the field of broadcasting software solutions; wide experience in terms of recognition of customer needs and understanding their specific requirements; and usage of proven project management principles while directing projects to their successful closure such as the Prince2 framework, SCRUM agile techniques, etc. These generic inputs are then further tailored in order to have the best fit for purpose solution for each identified project.
When selecting the way forward one should always take into account all relevant available information, such as the following: scope of implementation; reasons for the demanded change; size and organisational principles of the client together with their project management processes.
As the diagram shows, every project contains at least three project phases: Initialisation, Implementation and Go-live. It is also possible to add a customised development of completely new features to the implementation projects adjusting the roadmap accordingly. The core of the methodology uses the waterfall approach with a focus on the budget, timeline and technical scope control as these project characteristics are often demanded for a contractual agreement at the beginning, and estimates are calculated at early stages. When it comes to a detailed life-cycle of each project phase, the methodology also incorporates innovative approaches taken from agile techniques with a focus on frequent feedback from the customer through the early prototype presentations and an ever-changing backlog prioritisation as the solution advances to the acceptance and roll-out steps.
One of the most experienced developers in this industry, no doubt, is Provys from Prague, who have been active in such implementations since 1995 and are able to bring a wealth expertise and implementation skills to projects both large and small. Close adherence to the principles outlined above is the bedrock of their success with long term relationships in this complex marriage.
Pausing to evaluate the successes of this year’s NABSHOW in Las Vegas and the splendid exhibits presented there for the delight of our media moguls, I could not escape the thoughts of how much interest was generated by the content benchmarking software tool which was demonstrated at the show.
The days of long discussions in smokie rooms in order to evaluate the future profitability of video content are fast drawing to a close as software solutions are now able to compare and evaluate content potential. Even before purchasing such assets as content, it is possible to asses and therefore maximise future returns on investment budgets. Global software developers in the broadcasting industry are perfecting a tool for content benchmarking which is rapidly becoming a “must-have” in the software portfolio of the 21st century broadcaster.
Benchmarking is the practice of comparing business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and best practices from other companies. Benchmarking actually started as a means of measuring the accuracy of rifles by fixing them to a bench and comparing the marks made by different types of ammunition on a fixed target. Such comparisons enabled manufacturers to develop the best combination of bullet and gun. Today, benchmarking has developed into a business idiom relating to the measurement of selected variables and their comparison against industry’s best practice.
In the world of broadcasting, content benchmarking compares the potential profitability of a range of offered programmes in order to evaluate the most appropriate content for their delivery. Comparison is still a major component of this methodology but in this case, it is not against industry’s best practice but is against a choice of competing content. The benchmarking software is based on criteria relating to some fifteen factors such as, target group, schedule zone, week zone, week day, seasonal index, holidays, cost per point, sold-out rating, average ad agency commission fee, average cost per hour, average discount, average index of TRP during ad breaks, commercial minute coefficient in one hour, etc. Of course, the set of factors can be extended as required. The criteria themselves are flexible within their own ranges and are used by the software to calculate a comprehensive forecast of a content’s future potential. This allows evaluation of both existing content and that which the broadcaster may be considering producing.
“Our solution gives content purchasers the hard numbers they require in order to decide whether or not to sign the purchase contract”
“In addition to this, our revolutionary and highly competitive promise of implementation of our whole scheduling system, within five weeks, also generated a huge amount of interest” says Zdenek Razek, Product Manager Scheduling, Provys.
The first professional benchmarking solution has been developed in close consultation with AMB (All Media Baltics), who are now trialling the application and reporting favourably on the performance and clear benefits which they are experiencing. “In the context of media and art, the content purchase manager might love something at first sight, but this tool will hit the financial bull’s eye” comments Kristaps Safranovs, IT System Manager at AMB.