Product Spotlight: MediaExpress

Feb 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

What it is: A delivery system and service likened to an electronic mailbox for spot ads. The system centers on a relatively small piece of equipment-a 19-by-9-by-27-inch box weighing 50 pounds-that receives digital commercials via satellite from major dubbing and shipping houses. Broadcasting groups and networks are expected to indirectly benefit from its faster, cheaper, more reliable delivery and quality play-out.
Provider: SeaChange International.
Current user: Forbes Broadcast Services Ltd., a company that duplicates and distributes radio and TV commercials over satellite in Canada, has used the system for about a year in conjunction with VDI Multimedia, a U.S. provider of film and video asset management services. Forbes Parsons, uplink control manager for Forbes Broadcast Services Ltd., credits the system with vast improvements in speed, cost, quality and reliability.
Speed: “Before, tapes of television commercials were FedEx-ed overnight to Canada,” Mr. Parsons said. “Then we would make copies of the master and FedEx them overnight to Canadian television stations. That would represent about 48 hours on a good day.
“Last night, VDI received a new commercial for the `Hannibal’ movie. It was sent out of Hollywood at 2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, received in Toronto and delivered across Canada by 10:30 a.m. [ET] the same day.”
Cost: “To tape one TV commercial on Beta SP and courier it costs between $50 and $100 for each leg of the journey,” Mr. Parsons said. “Fiber-optic transmission represents a 15-minute window, and the cost of recording it on tape is roughly $500 for 15 minutes. It can get quite pricey, and you need a tape operator at both the sending and receiving ends.
“With Media Express, we don’t get charged for receiving from the U.S.,” he said. “We can charge advertising agencies $25 [overnight delivery, though it may arrive instantly] to send the commercials to the stations. Guaranteed delivery within two hours costs $80 per station.”
Quality: “It doesn’t see the light of analog till it’s played out on consumers’ TV sets-that’s the first loss of generation quality,” Mr. Parsons said.
Reliability: “We haven’t had to tell our clients that we couldn’t get the commercials out due to weather or airport conditions,” he said. “We’re up around 100,000 deliveries without a complaint from any broadcaster regarding quality.”