Doordarshan gets a technology boost

MUMBAI: The otherwise quiet Doordarshan is now making headlines, and all for good reasons. The pubcaster that has brought in a slew of new shows to strengthen its programming is now also looking at upgrading its backend services.


In the latest, Doordarshan has decided to move on from its semi-integrated software that handles different departments manually, to Broadcast Air Time Scheduling System (BATS) software, which integrates all the departments online. The software will be provided by Media Nucleus.


The decision was taken after Doordarshan realised that there were too many manual interventions in every department. Unlike private broadcasters like Star and Zee, where every department is interconnected through Broadcast Traffic Signaling System, the pubcaster until now had been working manually in most of the departments.  


BATS is a software that integrates different departments of the broadcaster; right from the administration to the programming, ad sales, marketing and billing among others. The software is useful, since it allows departments to work in their own capacity and yet compile everything to be put on air, without any revenue leakage.


The software ensures accurate billing by effectively managing account hierarchy, different packages and products, pricing plans, library with barcode tracking, content rights management, automated ad booking along with discounts offered on bulk deals, charges, billing cycle, invoicing, payment processing and collections.


“There are chances of huge revenue leakage when billing is done manually,” informs Media Nucleus director Santosh Nair. Doordarshan (finally) realised that with so many Kendras, decentralised operation and regional channels, the outstanding revenue was difficult to monitor since all was done manually. Hence, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (MIB) decided to remove the existing manual system and put in place a new technology which is used by broadcasters worldwide. 


“With BATS, all the management and ministry level officials and director generals working in DD will get up-to-date information of how much revenue is being booked. With this software they do not have to call people from Delhi to Mumbai or send fax sheets of the revenue collected. It is all available on a webpage, which the management can check to get an understanding of what is happening across the 21 channels of DD, how much revenue is coming from each Kendra and which advertiser has got them the maximum revenue,” adds Nair.


Media Nucleus won the bid after a thorough study conducted by Doordarshan. “We undertook a study of the BATS software of Media Nucleus and GEN 21 of Indonesia. While both the softwares were at par, we chose Media Nucleus, because one it is indigenous and two because it has provided us more customisation, which is what we needed,” informs Doordarshan deputy director general CK Jain.


Jain also points out that they chose Media Nucleus despite getting offers from other companies, who were willing to create special softwares for the pubcaster. “But we wanted something that was already tested. Also, a lot of Indian broadcasters were switching from their existing BATS software to the one by Media Nucleus,” adds Jain.


Doordarshan has 400 stations which will be integrated through BATS. “We evaluated the company and its software for six months and then signed the agreement, two months back,” informs Jain. The contract is on a long term basis with no closure date.


The installation of BATS will be done in three stages. In the first stage BATS will integrate the nine marketing division, DD commercial centre and the 17 Kendras. “This should be completed in the next two and a half months. The whole process should be up and running by early 2015,” says Jain.


The hardware installation has already started. “This has been done after completion of the system requirement study. It was through this study that we understood the kind of customisation that was needed for us,” says Jain.


How will this system help DD? Answers Nair, “We have been chosen on the basis of our experience, expertise and deployments. With our software, DD will be at par with any international broadcaster whereby they will be able to provide end to end seamless integration of all departments with live broadcast. This will also augment enhanced revenues with tight check on billing and outstanding increasing the pubcaster’s profitability.” 


The pubcaster through this is looking to be at par with the other broadcasters. “This is a response to the needs of the advertiser. We will surely be at par with other private channels,” concludes Jain. 

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