Delivering Service Excellence in Broadcast & Media


Delivering service excellence in media management and distribution requires the following:

  • Strong technical competence to meet the challenges of service management;
  • An effective process framework for consistency and continuous improvement;
  • Appropriate and accessible support systems;
  • Technology and robust infrastructure with accessible monitoring and control;
  • Effective vendor management that gets the best out of outsourced operations;
  • Well defined KPIs and dashboards providing leading indicators of operational problems;
  • Strong leadership to provide direction and support to operational teams.

Experience helps

As the most experienced independent auditor consultant for the World Teleport Association Angus has advised 14 separate teleport/media service providers on a wide range of topics including infrastructure improvement, service management, process excellence, support systems and control room design and operation. Angus has also provided consulting services to broadcast service providers covering service proposition development, service improvement, ISO9001 and customer experience covering radio, linear TV and OTT. This short article provides a summary of the common challenges discovered and solutions offered.

Process makes perfect

Process is the glue that enables people to operate systems reliably and consistently. A successful pit-stop in Formula 1 sees everyone playing their part – the difference between a slick process is winning or losing on a big scale. Broadcast operations processes are no different. Simple straightforward processes enable removal of human error and help teams outperform rivals. Make processes simple and intuitive then practice and keep improving.

All Change

More than 95% of broadcast outages are caused by change. Consider if incidents occur during the Christmas lockdown – answer: rarely. Left to its own, technology will generally continue to operate without failing. Add a human and equipment re-configurations, cabling, maintenance and there will be outages. Managing change effectively drastically increases service reliability. Implementing a straightforward process for change requests and approvals will help teams continue to be agile but reduce unintended consequences.

Symptoms or Cause

‘What actually caused the outage and what will you do to avoid a recurrence?’ A fair question from a customer who has suffered an outage on their channel. Training teams to carry out root cause analysis is fundamental to an operation. Try the ‘five whys’ technique – continue to ask why until you reach the root cause. Then recommend actions that will address the root cause and avoid a recurrence…for good.

We all make mistakes

‘To err is human’. However, this doesn’t mean broadcast operations need to suffer from mistakes. Some managers are accustomed to blaming operators for their mistakes without considering what could be done to avoid them. People benefit from solid induction, training on simulated systems and processes and standards to guide them through activities. Without these measures in place who wouldn’t make a mistake at the end of a 12-hour shift?

Have Data – Use Data

These days we are blessed with ample data from our systems. The right data is valuable as it enables us to draw insight into network and device performance. Real-time monitoring with managed alarm thresholds helps operators respond to faults whilst trend analysis can predict system problems. Condition-based maintenance offers huge cost and time-saving benefits. OTT networks are awash with data and a well- designed dashboard will provide all the information you ‘ll ever need for a reliable network. Data – use it or lose it!

As Managing Director of Hawk Media Partnership, Angus Blackwood has consulted on various projects over the last 3 years aimed at troubleshooting and improving operational performance at a variety of media service providers.

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