DD completes first phase of automating commercial ops

MUMBAI: Doordarshan (DD) has successfully implemented the first phase of automating its commercial operations in the first week of July this year.

It may be recalled that last year DD decided to upgrade from its semi-integrated software that handled its different departments manually, to Broadcast Air Time Scheduling System (BATS) software provided by Media Nucleus, which integrates all the departments online. was the first one to report that in June 2014, DD had officially launched the BATS traffic and billing software, which would connect its Delhi and Mumbai offices. The pubcaster was looking at completing the integration in three phases.

Speaking about the completion of the first phase, Doordarshan deputy director general CK Jain says, “Phase one was to implement the DD channels and automating the entire commercial operations. The first phase has been completely implemented and by the end of this month we are going to start rolling out the second phase.”

The aim of phase one was to complete the integration of all 67 DD kendras.

The benefits from phase one are as follows:

.  Less of manual intervention.

.  Able to release bills on time. 

.  Promptly reconcile receipts of dues and payments. 

.  Enable agencies to make online payments.

.  Generate reports in multiple ways.

According to Jain, it has built a strong Management Information System (MIS), which helps generate reports in a convenient manner. It also helps the network to analyse its revenue pattern and Twitter forecast etc. 

“We can generate revenues as per our convenience. For instance, we can generate how much revenue we have earned from a particular show or total revenue earned in a particular week or month. It has made our lives much easier,” asserts Jain.

The network, which was supposed to implement its commercial operations in the month of February this year had to face problems leading to the delay of the launch. “We started working from June last year. There were some issues, which were unexpected and changes were required with the customisation of software with the agencies we work with. Whatever we wanted to improvise, we implemented in phase one, as we have different operations as compared to private broadcasters. That's one of the reasons why it took us longer than usual to implement the first phase,” informs Jain.

Moreover, DD had to undergo a lot of changes due to agencies' requirements as well. “Every agency issues their Receiving Order (RO) in a different format, so we had to work with different agencies to ensure that their RO format was similar. They are also quiet excited about the changes,” he says

He further adds that while the completion of phase one does not see any improvement in the network’s financials, but it does however improve the satisfaction level of the agencies with whom the network works. “Sometimes a few agencies were dissatisfied with the services that we offered, so this kind of operation will make the advertisers happy,” he says.

Future of the second phase

The network plans to start the second phase of automating its commercial operations by the end of July. It plans to implement the remaining five national channels - DD Urdu, DD News, DD Bharti, DD Sports and DD Kisan - in their respective cities, eight remaining commercial revenue divisions (CRDs) and 15 regional channels. 

The network also plans to automate its commercial operations of its 22 channels, except for DD National in the second phase.

For the record, the aim of the BATS software is to provide satisfactory services to the pubcaster’s clients and advertising agencies. Inaugurated by Prasar Bharati chairman Dr A Surya Prakash, the application will integrate all the departments of scheduling, sales and billing, which were earlier being handled manually causing delays and several disputes with agencies.

The decision of upgrading the backend was taken since Doordarshan, with its wide network of kendras and regional channels across the country, was facing difficulty to monitor its outstanding revenue initially, as it was done manually.

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