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CONNECTED in weeks, and even days, without a signifi cant capital outlay for servers, storage hardware, software, and ongoing training and maintenance. An outsourced professional services team provides confi guration, training, and ongoing maintenance of the live system, including monitoring and maintaining the hardware instance, database confi guration, software updates, and backup policy in the cloud. Looking to the Cloud for broadcast business success by Tom Donoghue M ore and more, today’s highly competitive and rapidly evolving marketplace is ruled by consumer demand for seamless anywhere, anytime, any-device access to high- quality content. Broadcasters are learning quickly that competitive advantage is all about finding new ways to engage audiences and attract advertisers across multiple media outlets and viewing screens. At the same time, media enterprises of all sizes are challenged to operate as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible and generate maximum revenues, while dealing with increased workloads as they add new channels and multi-screen services. These challenges are magnifi ed for smaller broadcasters and start-up companies operating on a shoestring budget and with tight resources. In traditional linear environments, older, standalone legacy systems or even manual spreadsheet-based methods might have been adequate for tracking critical business information. But in today’s much more complex operations, these old methods simply aren’t up to the task of managing functions such as inventory and multi-dimensional contractual rights for multi-platform content. With a lack of effi ciency and integ ration blocking a big-picture view of the business, it is often diffi cult to keep track of asset exploitation and, as business grows, the addition of new channels and services becomes a cumbersome task. Cloud-based computing is not a new idea, but media and entertainment companies are beginning to recognize its potential for cutting costs, increasing productivity, and improving agility. Ideal for smaller and developing media businesses in particular, the cloud offers an easy-to-use and affordable solution for automating critical business functions such as scheduling, media, airtime sales, traffi c, multi-dimensional rights management, and reporting for both linear and on-demand multi-screen services. With these challenges and requirements in mind, Pilat Media introduced IBMS Express, an easy-to-deploy integrated broadcast management system in the cloud. Ideal for smaller or developing specialty networks, broadcast stations, and pay-TV platform operators, IBMS Express provides a unifi ed platform that integrates key business within a centralized data repository, accessed through a common user interface. Broadcasters are able to track and manage content, rights, and campaigns through their entire interrelated lifecycles, with reporting capabilities that make it easy to apply the data to future revenue planning and proposals. IBMS Express can be deployed as software-as-a-service (SaaS), with a fl exible pricing model that minimizes IT investment and maintenance as well as reducing up-front capital expenditures. A broadcaster can be up and running 66 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 87 MARCH 2014 With its unique modular confi guration, IBMS Express is able to take into account the size of the operation and the broadcaster’s evolving need to add new channels and services into the future. The media business is able to start smaller and scale up as the business requirements expand – especially valuable for start-ups with limited initial budgets. For instance, the broadcaster might start with the IBMS Express content module that enables media assets to be scheduled and managed throughout the broadcast lifecycle from acquisition to post- production processing, transmission, and reconciliation. From there, the operation could choose to add on the sales module for automating advertising sales activities. Moving forward with the addition of multi-screen and multi-channel content delivery, the broadcaster can add modules for capturing multi-dimensional rights and managing nonlinear services such as VOD, with features supporting catalog offers and service navigation. With IBMS Express, broadcast operations are able to “start smaller but think big” by gradually transforming themselves into effi cient multi-channel and multi-platform businesses. With the solution’s modular services, companies can take a phased approach to business management that will enable them to stay effi cient and generate revenues while dealing with increased workloads, more services, and more channels. By integrating key management functions, a broadcast business can realize maximum revenue potential across all delivery screens with the agility to compete effectively in today’s ever-shifting industry landscape. Tom Donoghue is vice president of implementation service at Pilat Media, a leading provider of business management software solutions for media content and service providers.