Mediaset

The Mediaset Group has the distinction of being Italy’s first commercial broadcaster

Abstract

Commercial broadcasters and post-production facilities worldwide are feeling the pinch of today’s challenging economic climate, as well as the pressure of increasing competition in providing media to consumers. These media companies understand that continued profitability depends on their ability to do more with less, and this means maximizing the efficiency of workflows, improving the management of personnel, establishing beneficial vendor relationships, increasing productivity and controlling costs – all of which are elemental to realizing a consistent return on investment (ROI) throughout the business. Italy’s Mediaset serves as an excellent example of how a company can maximize its ROI through comprehensive resource management.

Introduction

The Mediaset Group has the distinction of being Italy’s first commercial broadcaster, and since its founding, the group also has earned recognition as one of Europe’s foremost media companies. The group’s parent company, Mediaset S.p.A, is a fully integrated media enterprise with operations that include three national television channels (Canale 5, Italia 1, and Retequattro), Italy’s largest advertising company, television production facilities, Italy’s largest television rights library, and a wholly owned national signal distribution business. Videotime, the Mediaset subsidiary that manages the productions of TV programs for the three networks, operates Mediaset’s studios and equipment and provides specialized technical personnel for live broadcast, news, variety and game shows, and some of the dramas produced by the company. Videotime has become the leader in Italian TV production, and the company works with the most advanced technologies available to guarantee the highest level of quality in its TV productions. In seeking to consolidate management of resources and streamline operations for multiple locations companywide, Mediaset extended implementation of ScheduALL’s enterprise resource management (ERM) software across all of its operations.

Situation

Mediaset first began using ScheduALL software within its Elettronica Industriale division to manage contribution transmissions and satellite feeds across its network, which covers all of Italy. The company’s production division, however, remained reliant on custom software tailored only for its studios, edit suites and personnel. For nearly a decade, Videotime struggled with a solution that failed to address all of the division’s resources or provide for effective planning in tandem with Elettronica Industriale. Thus, while the two Mediaset divisions shared clients and internal resources under the umbrella of the group’s RTI subsidiary, the disconnect between their scheduling and management capabilities forced the group to maintain multiple databases, which prevented implementation of fluid workflows while also creating costly redundancies in personnel and in entering and updating project and resource information.

Because the two resource management solutions used by Elettronica Industriale and Videotime spoke different “languages” and featured separate, proprietary interfaces, they were incompatible. As a result, users could not share data across the systems, nor could they examine and analyze costs and projects across production and distribution operations. To realize vastly improved efficiencies enterprise-wide, Mediaset made the decision to transition its Videotime division and full complement of newsgathering and production resources onto ScheduALL software for comprehensive project visibility.

“ScheduALL software enables us to manage every part of operations.”

Analysis

Among Mediaset’s key strategic aims as a business is to carve out a position of strength in the content market, and to do so without compromising its economic stability, depriving its core business of resources, or entering into risky business relationships. The ability to collaborate internally and to provide visibility into projects and business processes across Elettronica Industriale and Videotime is essential to this goal.

Elettronica Industriale owns the network that supports distribution of Mediaset Group signals, and Videotime guarantees the technological maintenance and development of the production infrastructure, including studios, post-production and graphics units, and mobile studios. As these divisions work cooperatively to bring broadcasts to television viewers, Mediaset’s commitment to ScheduALL provides numerous opportunities for streamlining both personnel and equipment management, consolidating vital business and project data, and leveraging all resources optimally from one end of the workflow to the other.

“The Mediaset Group has the expertise and organizational structure to select projects and develop the production of TV movies, miniseries, and popular TV drama series, and ScheduALL software provides Videotime with a comprehensive platform for efficient management of these productions, which are central to our broadcast schedules,” says Marco Bianchi, Mediaset studio planner responsible for supervising the ScheduALL system. “We knew that by extending our scheduling capabilities across all of the technical and personnel resources within both Videotime and Elettronica Industriale, we’d gain significant cost and productivity benefits through better-defined end-to-end processes and consolidated production and resource planning, all of which bring much greater efficiency to our overall operations.”

Solution

Mediaset brought its Videotime division onto the ScheduALL ERM platform, consolidating project, personnel, vendor, equipment, and facilities data within a single database accessible to both Elettronica Industriale and Videotime staff via a single interface. The software simplifies real-time scheduling of resources, reduces redundancy, and improves accuracy in planning and executing individual projects. By facilitating communications among managers and personnel throughout the operation, the software supports a considerably more collaborative approach to planning and completing production and distribution work. As this work is performed, ScheduALL links cost data to each project from inception through distribution to enable focused cost analysis and control.

“Working with ScheduALL across different divisions of the group allows us to speak a common language. In a sense, we are now working with the same tools and leveraging shared data more effectively in planning and managing our resource use,” says Bianchi. “Whereas previous solutions were limited in their ability to address all of our resources and needs, the ScheduALL software enables us to manage every part of operations. The ability to consolidate planning and management within a single application has enabled us to share personnel and technical resources more efficiently across the company while reducing the burden on IT and scheduling staff.”

Benefit

As a unified scheduling platform for Mediaset’s production and distribution divisions, ScheduALL software offers intuitive interfaces tailored to the needs of different user sets. Project information is entered into the software only once and thereafter is carried through all operations, whether the project requires a quick turnaround or stretches over numerous episodes. Reliance on a single server and database minimizes the workload and management time required of the company’s IT staff, while also eliminating redundant data entry, reducing valuable time wasted, lowering the potential for input error, and streamlining overall processes company-wide.

Integration of planning and service requests across divisions facilitates tighter collaboration and allows for comprehensive reporting and analysis with respect to facility performance and efficiency. Access to current scheduling information gives production, technical and creative staff a clear picture of project workflows and timelines, in turn enabling individual staff members to manage their own time and activities accordingly. With a dramatically improved view into both personnel and resource use and availability, managers can be more effective in optimizing the deployment and value of those resources.

In extending its ScheduALL use to include management of Videotime studios, ENG equipment, editing suites, and personnel, Mediaset also has been able to track the costs and progress of each production project more closely and more completely. The software supports real-time scheduling of resources, preventing users from double-booking and warning them when potential conflicts arise. At any point in the life of a work order, project managers and executives use ScheduALL’s real-time data to keep an eye on the status of any project. ScheduALL allows them to checking budgeted costs against real costs and gain insight into the relationship of costs to returns, whether internally in a particular project area or externally in working with a particular vendor. The significance of this capability helps keep critical margins in perspective and enables better business decisions by all.

The import of data from Mediaset’s SAP system makes information about vendors, resource quantities, and prices readily available in ScheduALL without requiring users to work with the company’s more complex financial software system. As a result of ScheduALL’s high interoperability with other leading business and media solutions, Mediaset managers can easily and at any time, use the software to assess how well the project is meeting the company’s quotes and financial goals. A custom interface between ScheduALL and SAP also supports the export of project and cost details into SAP, driving faster, more accurate billing and enabling more in-depth financial analysis and reporting.

With improved tools for enterprise-wide resource and vendor planning at their fingertips, Mediaset managers are positioned to maintain or increase the company’s productivity while establishing better cost controls, lowering the overall cost of doing business, accelerating project completion, and increasing its ROI.

Summary

Maximizing efficiencies and streamlining operations are now, more than ever, a top priority within the broadcast and production industries. ScheduALL’s robust solutions provide media companies of all sizes with the comprehensive planning and management tools needed to make this goal a reality. In addressing all elements of the business and integrating smoothly with Mediaset’s existing systems, ScheduALL supports more collaborative workflows across the company and improves the visibility of project costs, thus enabling the company to realize a substantially improved ROI and greater profitability from its production work.

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