Complex programme delivery


Business management software developer Pilat Media Global plc has announced that BBC World Service has implemented a new Distribution Management Module for its installation of the Pilat Media Integrated Broadcast Management System (IBMS). In operation since Nov 2011, the new module enables the scheduling and distribution of radio programmes to be performed more efficiently over the network’s multiple delivery platforms.

BBC World Service serves approximately 1,500 outlets carrying 250 distributed streams, each derived from 45 individual program streams, each the equivalent of a distinct radio station. In 2005, BBC World Service chose IBMS to manage the complex task of scheduling the multiple individual program streams, taking into account such factors as shared content, variations according to regional factors, time zone differences, and delivery methods.

The latest phase of BBC World Service’s IBMS installation, the Distribution Management Module adds highly sophisticated bandwidth management capabilities for the efficient use of the World Service distribution network. Distribution management becomes particularly crucial when late changes need to be made to a schedule and planners need to understand and control how the signal is routed from studio to listener while seeing the effect any change may have on other programming sharing the available bandwidth. The IBMS Distribution Management Module also provides the means to understand the effect of introducing new programming content and extending or reducing coverage in a rapid manner to cater for events — either planned or unplanned — that require a realignment of distribution. For example, the African Cup of Nations, for which the BBC has broadcast rights in Africa, requires the ability to plan complex variations to the normal schedule in advance and allow windows for last-minute changes.

“For several years, IBMS has been a fundamental part of our operation. The scheduling system plays an essential role in the World Service’s ability to manage a very large programming matrix with limited scheduling staff resources,” said Nigel Fry, head of distribution BBC Global News. “And now, with the implementation of the Distribution Management Module, we are gaining a better understanding of how our programming can be more efficiently extended to all distribution outlets.”

Integration with the IBMS content scheduling system provides an instant display of how any scheduled program will be distributed over the various switched streams. Operation is facilitated with an easy-to-understand graphical view of the schedules, color-coded by language service with a representation of bandwidth use in graph form, and warnings if available bandwidth is about to be exceeded. The module allows planners to run what-if scenarios for schedule alterations and features data interfaces to several external World Service resources, including the satellite distribution system and the shortwave planning system.

IBMS feeds information from the Distribution Management Module to the BBC World Service website’s listings pages so that listeners can understand what they can hear and when, and on what platforms and frequencies. The IBMS system also provides the program synopsis to the listings pages.

“Since its inception in 1932, BBC World Service has been one of the great pillars of the global broadcasting landscape. Our ongoing partnership with BBC World Service is a sterling example of IBMS’s ability to streamline management of even the most complex media operations, and a powerful testament to our two organizations working together to bring our customers the best possible broadcast experience,” said Avi Engel, CEO of Pilat Media.


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