Why do you need a Broadcast Management System (BMS)?

White Paper

Your guide to understand what a BMS software is

Today, competitiveness in the Broadcast and Media industry has grown to the point where every second counts, even more so if we focus on content programming and scheduling. It is impossible to understand the industry without paying attention to one of the most crucial tools for its daily operations: the Broadcast Management System (BMS).

At VSN we want to offer an overview of this technology and how it is possible to extract the maximum added value from the available resources, enhancing the simultaneous and collaborative work between departments and professionals and encouraging companies to manage their resources in the most efficient way in order to satisfy their most important asset: their audiences.

What is a BMS and how can it help your company?

A BMS or Broadcast Management System is a software that deals with crucial processes for content companies, such as TV channels, streaming platforms, OTT or video on demand (VoD). Its main tasks are the programming of content and the management of its traffic, advertising and other spaces, as well as the management of broadcast licenses and their monetization. Additionally, these systems can also generate analytical information based on the broadcast schedule, creating customized reports.

A system of these characteristics can be very useful, whether for a linear television channel of any size or a non-linear channel (OTT, VoD, Web TV, etc.) when it comes to enabling a complete and real-time view of all the planned content or already broadcast, as well as the income generated by advertising. Thanks to their different features, these systems allow companies to save costs and speed up processes that can be vital to generate returns.

Given the capital importance that such a system can have, it is very relevant to take into account aspects such as a simple and intuitive interface , which allows to perform all the operations from the application itself and offers a quick and clear view of the catalog, line-ups, programming and space availability, without having to access an external application or system. In addition, the flexibility and customization capacity of the work environment must also be taken into account, with customized metadata and new functionalities via APIs and plugins; the possibility of programming both on a daily and long-term basis; the intelligent planning of advertising, which allows for forecasting the expected costs and revenues; or the adaptation to the specifications of each market, such as advertising regulations.

Additionally, other features such as the 100% web development of the system, the ability to operate in cloud environments, its availability under pay-per-use models (SaaS) or its close integration with content management systems such as a media management system (MAM), playouts and non-linear platforms are of crucial importance when it comes to ensuring a smooth, cohesive and uninterrupted workflow.

The content’s journey: from ingest to broadcast

A content to be broadcasted, for example, in a television channel, can have different origins: it can be an in-house production, an acquisition from a third party (such as a film or a series from a studio) or it can also be a news report sent from a mobile unit moved to the location of the event.

In any case, the first step to be carried out by the team will be the ingest and transcoding of the content. Ingest, in this context and as its name indicates, is the process of incorporating elements of new content into a study or installation. Ingest can be done from conventional video, compressed data streams or data files and the material is usually stored on a server. Transcoding, or direct digital conversion from one encoding to another , is an optional but usually necessary step due to the wide variety of available video formats and the different compatibility options for each type of broadcast.

These contents rarely come alone, since each one of them contains metadata, (literally data about data) that allow us to get information about the file manage and facilitate its identification, description and classification, including, for example, if it is a third party production, details about the broadcast license we have to schedule the content.

If we are talking about just a few contents, the management of our library could not be easier, and in all probability we would not need the help of a content management system to serve as the core of our operations. However, the reality for the vast majority of media companies is very different, and the need to easily manage thousands and thousands of contents is vital for many of them. Let’s take as a model a traditional TV channel that, given the changes in the industry, now also broadcasts its contents not only in its linear channels, but also in its private VoD, besides publishing snippets, teasers, trailers and other promotional content in social media.

A system with these features allows the channel -among other functionalities- precise cataloging, advanced searches, management of different user profiles, operating from the cloud, greater security, integration with third parties, interoperability and, above all, access to multi-platform distribution. This is where the full potential of a BMS comes into play. If it is a system of easy integration, the software will already have at its disposal all the contents ingested in the MAM, so it will be able to start organizing them for broadcast immediately.

Of course, the content will be broadcast on one or more of the channel’s linear options. Choosing when and where in the daily programming grid (or weekly or monthly if replacements are planned) is the essential task of a BMS, but not the only one. Having the internal data of other programming to decide which is its optimal broadcast slot, knowing at a single glance the license conditions associated with the content and placing the most appropriate ads to its target are other functionalities that a comprehensive system should offer. 

If the software also has tools that ease the programming of that same content in non-linear channels, the management of the channel is greatly simplified by having a centralized platform from which to send its linear programming to your VoD, as well as incorporating all kinds of promotional videos to your networks to announce it. Finally, a desirable feature would be direct access to a monitoring system to ensure that the broadcast has run smoothly.

All these tasks do not have to be carried out by a single user: the organizational flexibility derived from providing multiple user profiles with separate specific functions is certainly a feature that channel operators will take advantage of to increase their efficiency. 

6 essential requirements for a BMS

  • Programming for any kind of broadcast model: Whether it is for a traditional TV channel, a VoD, an OTT or any other variation of content delivery (Web TV, social networks…), a BMS system must be prepared for any circumstance, particularly taking into account the great transformation that the industry has undergone in recent years and which has forced many companies to broadcast their content across multiple platforms. Working on a single catalog, but with each type of programming organized in different sections and adding tools that increase the fluidity and clarity of the processes seems essential to maintain competitiveness in a field where there are fewer and fewer intermediaries and advertising monetization is increasingly accurate.
  • Advanced Advertising management: Having functionalities dedicated exclusively to advertising management should therefore be a priority for programming operators and the company’s decision-making profiles, as these allow advertising campaigns and spaces to be managed in the best possible way, defining time slots and intelligent rules for their broadcast at the most suitable time or alongside the appropriate content. The ideal system should have this set of automatic rules, such as avoiding the repetition of ads of the same type and/or product or industry, as well as avoiding a certain type of advertising at specific times (e.g., children’s hours). This allows users to automate a good part of their advertising needs, enabling the freedom to take care of key details for the monetization of their content.
  • Every bit of information in a single interface: The advantage of centralizing all the programming flows of a broadcast and media company is now essential: being able to manage the catalog, advertising and the state of the media itself from a single interface, as well as supervising its export to the continuity system and the possibility of importing broadcast log files. Having a single interface from which to execute and monitor all these processes is essential, as it allows for quick decision-making, minimizes errors and optimizes every workflow related to programming.
  • 100% web-based software, available in any browser: Since remote work is already a reality, promoting quick and easy access from any browser or computer users is crucial to any form of broadcast, in addition to enhancing collaborative work through registration and access of multiple user profiles. This capability allows professionals the necessary control and organization to manage their programming anywhere and at any time. Additionally, having the ability to operate locally or in the cloud, as well as being able to access the software through a SaaS service model allows operators greater flexibility depending on their needs.
  • Customized analytical reports: Currently, any software dedicated to corporate tasks that generate revenues can hardly afford not having functionalities that help to understand their performance in the medium and long term, generating market intelligence and statistics that help in the decision making process. In the particular case of BMS software, the ability to create customized reports and dashboards that allow the analysis of profitability and return on investment (RoI) of the contents are very useful tools to analyze the breakdown of investments and make appropriate decisions depending on the results.
  • Integration with third party systems and content management solutions (MAM): Interoperability between different systems is also very relevant for any broadcaster, since in general terms we are referring to companies that have different operators to manage various key processes until the content reaches the appropriate screens. This is why it is important that the BMS software we choose is open and interoperable, i.e., that it facilitates integration with third parties and fits in with playout or content management systems. With respect to the latter, it should be noted that the bidirectionality between both systems ensures that all changes made to the traffic system can be automatically replicated in the MAM platform, thus enabling users to preview content from the traffic interface and not having to access the MAM system to change the metadata and/or segments of the stored assets as required.

VSNCrea, VSN’s BMS system

The traffic and scheduling software VSNCrea, 100% web based, allows you to schedule content on multiple screens and platforms with total freedom. This system allows you to have control over the production catalog (for advertising, programs, live shows, promos, etc.), as well as to intelligently plan such contents. You can make all kinds of analytical reports to make the broadcast of advertising profitable and also manage the rights of all your productions based on customized rules. The system also integrates in an advanced way with all kinds of own and third party systems (MAM systems, broadcast automation systems, EPGs, billing software, etc.) to offer the smoothest possible workflow between systems and centralized in a single platform that multiple users can access from any browser to coordinate through different roles and functions, optimizing the resources and the synchrony of the company in a simple and transparent way, facilitating their customization and regardless of whether they are programming linear channels, VoD, OTT, Web TV or social networks.

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