The beginning

With the squeeze on traditional broadcast advertising becoming more apparent through the development of digital and the rise of on-demand services of all descriptions, a traditional broadcast TV station’s ability to command premium prices from big spending, big budget advertisers has decreased. As a result of this, ad-sales revenues have began to suffer.

As we travel around the world for various roadshows, demo’s and trade shows, this matter and what might be done to improve or recover some of that revenue, is a topic that just keeps cropping up in conversation.

Of course, to counter this, a range of new methods of commercial placement have evolved to entice those big spending advertisers back; with promises of greater targeting to ensure their commercials are placed in front of the eyes most likely to appreciate, react and engage with them. However, the reality of delivering these types of placement comes at a price and a level of complexity that often excludes all but the biggest players.

When looking at these “new” methods of commercial placement, it seemed to us that at the key functionalities are:

  • Access to, and the use of, relevant data.
  • The facility to make late decisions to gain access to desired placement opportunities.

As all the relevant data is already stored and available via a TV Station’s BMS (Broadcast Management System), it appeared that the primary issue was that this information needed to be made accessible in a useful and appropriate format whenever and wherever needed. This got us thinking about how best to liberate that data in order to empower sales executives and help them build confidence with the agents and advertisers they work with.

It seemed to us that the opportunity here was for specifically targeted, highly task-oriented web and mobile partner or extension apps to the core ForeTV Pulse product, that would essentially offer;

  • Execs the ability to more effectively sell “in the field”
  • Agents and advertisers the opportunity to buy manage and monitor their own campaigns
  • Managers the facility to: manage, approve and monitor sales from anywhere with real-time data.

This solution was always going to take the form of an evolutionary prototype. By starting small, is had the flexibility to be grown and refined through select “show and tell” feedback sessions.


Our approach

In our regular R&D forums we discussed our thoughts and ideas for these apps, creating “user stories” or use-cases of how and when they might be used. From these we then identified the key criteria and functionality for the first stages of development.

Web App

This would include a security controlled feature set, allowing it to be used by both internal Sales Executives and the clients (Agents/Advertisers/Buyers) that they work with. Elements to include:

  • Ability to generate proposals directly into ForeTV Pulse
  • Ability to view client data from ForeTV Pulse
  • Ability to view selected real-time data reports
  • Overview of the latest schedules and airtime inventory status
  • CRM access and two-way interface with ForeTV Pulse;
    • To manage customer contact throughout the lifecycle of a sale
    • To allow clients to track the selling process

Mobile App

This would predominantly be used by senior staff and/or managers to monitor and analyse performance. Elements to include:

  • Ability to view client data
  • Ability to view selected real-time data reports
  • Overview of the latest schedules and airtime inventory status

This then enabled us to map out a solution that we were confident would help our clients to maximize efficiency in their sales processes and foster more collaborative relationships with their agents, advertisers and buyers.


What we did

With our goals defined, we assembled a dedicated team to review potential technologies, platforms and approaches. Once the technologies were agreed, we quickly began prototyping.

We started with the basic interfaces, to pull and push information between both the web and mobile apps and the ForeTV Pulse database. Initially to simply populate our apps with the required data in order to show:

  • Proposal/Contract information
  • Schedule and Inventory data

Once complete, we concentrated on the display and accessibility of this information within the apps, ensuring that only appropriate information was displayed and in a way that was both meaningful and easy to understand.

This was a key stage in the development process. We recognised that simply having access to the information was not enough; and that it would be the relevant and easily intelligible presentation of it which would enable end users to really exploit the benefits offered by these apps.

“Throughout the process, we were constantly mindful of our ultimate goals to:

  • Enable and empower end-users to make well-informed decisions based on real-time data
  • Provide the opportunity to maximise efficiency and enhance company image through meaningful value-added services
  • Create an environment and workflow that could help foster more collaborative relationships with agents, advertisers and buyers”

Phua Lik Chin – Regional Manager, Asia

The final stages of our initial developments were around application and function security as well as increasing the level of functionality and information available, including:

  • The generation of proposal information directly into ForeTV Pulse
  • Contract, Proposal review and Monitoring information
  • Informative EPG to enhance schedule & inventory views
  • The ability to access and run a number of key reports inc:
    • Campaign Summary
    • Top performing Agents
    • Top performing advertisers
  • Access to client account data
  • Client contact tracking

We felt this was enough to provide a functional “proof of concept” application, which we could take out on the road to show our clients and contacts to both illustrate and explain our vision as well as to gain the industry feedback that is vital for continued evolution.

So far all of the feedback has been positive with an almost unanimous buy-in to the concepts demonstrated and the highly task oriented nature of the apps. We have also discussed some great ideas for further enhancements.

“The response to the ForeTV Pulse extension apps has been extremely encouraging, particularly across Asia-Pacific. People can really see the benefits to be gained by opening up the ad-sales process – freeing up execs to really sell, yet also putting the power into the hands of agents/advertisers to actively engage in the buy process.”

Phua Lik Chin – Regional Manager, Asia

Going forward

We continue to invest heavily in R&D and these partner/extension apps will continue to evolve alongside the core ForeTV Pulse application, as we receive more industry feedback and gain further insights into that areas of the business in which our clients could benefit from. For Example, improved access to data, automated processes and or streamlined or adaptable workflows. We’re already introducing a VOD catalogue overview to both web and mobile apps.

At MSA Focus we always try to ensure we are thought leaders in our field, we have initiative and relish the opportunity to solve problems and improve opportunities through innovative software solutions.


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