MSA and ECN Commercial Traffic Initiative Reduces Discrepancies

Pittsburgh, PA and Los Angeles, CA – April 23, 2014 – Management Science Associates, Inc. (MSA) and Entertainment Communications Network, Inc. (ECN) announced today that electronic commercial instruction files are being successfully received from advertising agencies, translated and transmitted by ECN, and ingested/processed using MSA’s Gabriel software. The announcement follows years of discussion and attempts by the broadcast cable industry to create an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) standard for commercial instructions, also known as traffic instructions.
This represents a major step forward in automating operations between advertising agencies and cable networks, which have historically relied on fax and email delivery of instructions, OCR copies and manual entry into multiple systems. Once a commercial has been produced, ad agencies assign it a commercial code (Ad-ID) and create traffic instructions advising networks when, where and how to air the spot. Typically, traffic instructions are distributed to stations and networks via fax or email through ECN, and the commercial information is re-typed by hand into the traffic system.
“For years, agencies and broadcasters have focused on the media buy and invoice. Yet until now, the most critical step to ensure a spot airs correctly – scheduling – has been an entirely manual process,” said Angela Tietze, CEO of ECN, which works with major advertising agencies to distribute around 90,000 traffic instructions each week to broadcast media.
ECN’s XML feed to MSA’s ad sales, traffic, stewardship and billing system, Gabriel, automates a manual industry process that has been in place for more than 50 years. “The fax and manual entry copy assignment processes have been seen as an area for improvement for many years,” remarked Susan Stiger, Senior Manager with MSA's Media Division. “Automated copy entry not only makes the process more efficient, but it removes the potential for human errors that result in lost revenue.” With a background in data analysis and computer systems, MSA has a 50-year history of improving client operations and work flow. MSA plans to continue advancing the industry’s ability to seamlessly exchange information with proposal exchange targeted as the next milestone.
About MSA (Management Science Associates, Inc.)
MSA is an innovator in the collection, processing, analysis and delivery of mission-critical information. By remaining true to its research-driven roots and consistently nurturing a spirit of innovation, MSA has created a blueprint for excellence that clients and competitors alike refer to as the MSA Model: a belief in bringing the right people to the problem, partner with a client throughout a project to identify its needs, and develop and deliver an innovative, customized, functional and affordable solution.
About ECN (Entertainment Communications Network, Inc.)
ECN distributes commercial instructions to broadcast media on behalf of virtually every major agency in North America. The company’s expertise in commercial traffic operations, its proprietary media database and seamless connections to all major buying systems (Mediaocean, CORE, Harris, STRATA and Infotech), have established ECN as the bridge between content and media. ECN also provides compliance services to its clients, including acquiring written confirmation of scheduled commercials and revisions for agencies, as well as program playtracking for networks and syndicators.
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