How to automate for a lot less money & go tapeless and digitally file-centric at your TV station or cable insertion company


If you run a medium or small market TV or Cable Ad Sales operation, you need concrete ways to increase work flow & lower expenses now. Whether in production, news, traffic or sales, you may be missing easy ways to move the meter. There are some very smart options out there. However, you need to throw out every single old concept & idea & let your paradigm float freely for a bit.

1) Tapes – Take every single tape deck you have & throw them out & donate to a 501c for the tax benny. PCs have dropped like a rock. You need to choose between MPG2 , MPG4, or AVI. Start putting all your video & B roll into digital files. You can use a large server, SATA drive(s), or off site storage ( If you don’t own a good encoder/decoder PC, shop around & buy one or 2 if you are high volume.
Once this is done you’re getting file centric & you also will need less space to work in & will have better work flow thru put.

2) Traffic – There are lots of very fancy traffic systems out there but they all are overpriced & offer so many features that manuals run 2 feet wide sometimes.

You need lean, mean , cost effective plus easy learning curve.Under the radar of the BIG shot T&B vendors are some real values. ,, etc.

Why buy a T & B system that is so complex that maybe 2 staffers know it well. UniVision’s “Ad Magic” system comes without a manual because it is aimed at the 10th grade level. It is meant to be intuitive & it is.
Many of the files systems and organization you need comes with a PC & Microsoft Office Suite.

3) Tape Delivery & File Movement- My company operates in 6 states in mostly mid to small DMAs. Our Fed Ex & DHL bill are under $ 1,500. for the year , yet we move finished TV spots and video/ audio projects over the internet 24/7. In over 7 years we have had maybe 2 spots need to be resent. Nevertheless I get old line TV stations who refuse to do FTP / Internet spot transfers because it’s against policy. In the heat of the political seasons, we can get a FTP’d spot at 12 noon & have it on air in Idaho Falls less than 2 hours later. Agencies & production houses love it. This is the essence is being digital & filecentric. When we transfer schedules, the PC in the field senses the missing MPG file & it “fetches” the spot on its own. Having worked at corporate stations I know how much is spent on overnights. The internet is the cost of your ISP. In fact you probably need a backup ISP or at least the cell phone of the local ISP provider’s Top tech so you can get around the waiting list for Emergencies.

We use a Swap Drive like a big video mailbox in the sky. We post & pull files off it all day. Agencies & clients put sots in there also.

4) Sales Effort / Organization – If you require your sales reps to come in every morning for a traditional meeting & coffee clutch, forget it. Gas is only going to get higher till we are even with Europe’s reality.

Require all your sales reps to be “very” PC savvy.

If you cannot give them a PC Lap Top then work out a company co pay deal or something. Once they are on the net as they travel, you need to shift forms & all the sales flow stuff onto “Google” Docs feature.
DOCS lets you store umpteen files of various sorts on their servers – not yours. Imagine all your brochures, maps, one sheets just stored out there in hyperspace. The speed & paper savings that this allows is amazing. Also the use of a Doc is time/ date stamped so it leaves you a very nice hyper space trail of work effort. Salespersons lists should be centric & chamber of commerce oriented not heavy list – light list. If your DMA is very large you will lose outer metro sales because your team never gets there.

Have a one meeting a week & have it early AM, have all white boards info ready well before the meet time.
Be a leader & make strong cogent, lean presentations. Do not bore the troops !! If you run a contest – make it winnable by anyone & make it fun & realistic.

Use memo’s & info sheets posted to DOCS to get across time sensitive items , ideas, sales reports
Confirms etc.

5) Tech Stuff – PC’s have a very low failure rate but they do. Have a contract IT guy on a short cell string. Have a back up to that also. IT  repairs many times can be done by PC anywhere over the net , have it installed on all your units.Get familiar with ALL the format conversions plug ins, logo libraries, etc.

The sheer amount of software that helps our place run amazes me & it’s all net downloadable for pennies for what it does for the smooth flow of the 21 st century TV / Video / Audio / cable facility.

Install a Sling Box so that all techs , home office, mgt, & sales can dial into the station or your competitors to monitor & check problems.

Get familiar with File Zilla, VNC, FTP etc etc.

Now you are saying is this scenario a reality? Or just a lot of Hype?

It isn’t. Read on

Cable Ad Net New York, Inc. Red Hook, NY

I run a cable insertion turnkey that inserts at 11 sites with 4 or 8 networks. Our video is crisp & tight.

We schedule about 1800 contracts a year & probably double that in video that we produce (digitally) or dubs from DG Systems spot box service etc.

We could not operate with small staff we have without the world of digital files & PCs etc.

Our traffic is Ad Magic

Our insertion gear is Ad Systems – Addige

Our ISP is Frontier Comm. DSL 750/1.2

NLE Editor – AVID DVE Express Pro w/ plug ins

Camera – PDR 150 3 chip unit.

Want broadcast examples.

Vision Broadcasting – Corning NY
General Mgr / President Bill Christian
WYDC Fox 48 Elmira
WJKP – My Network TV Elmira
WBGT TV 18 – My Network TV Rochester

Traffic is Summit Systems
Insertion gear is Rush Works
Rush Works set up for 3 stations under 50 K.
Summit Traffic 15 K plus monthly fees.
Learning curve for key staff under 6 weeks. User since 2006.

These are only 2 examples.

The salad days are over & approaches like this will be part of what keeps you profitable & look good on air.

Do not be afraid of getting it partly wrong. Press on , read the trades , use the net for research & problem solving, network with other file centric converts.

Believe me it’s worth it !!!!!

Dan Viles,
CEO/Cable Ad Net New York (CANNY)