[mythtv-users] Getting local-access stations into Schedules Direct

Brian Wood beww at beww.org
Tue Nov 3 15:09:28 UTC 2009

On Tuesday 03 November 2009 07:38:51 Robert Eden wrote:
> On 11/1/2009 1:56 AM, f-myth-users at media.mit.edu wrote:
> > Ah, I missed that the first time though.  Thanks.  But I was more
> > thinking about how the station -exports- its data to XML, not how
> > I inhale it; obviously it depends on where there data comes from,
> > but I presume there are also some tools to take common formats and
> > produce something reasonable.
> You would think.... but when Zap2IT Labs shut down and we were looking
> into how to recover (before SD) we contacted a number of stations
> looking for a direct feed.  Basically it's a mess. There is no standard
> format!  Some have it in word, some excel, some proprietary formats.
> XMLTV actually seemed to be the closest thing to a "standard" format! We
> were shocked to find that within a TV station, it's often easier/cheaper
> for them to buy a Tribune feed than to transfer the data internally!
> So Tribune (and presumably the other US source Rovi/Macrovision/Gemstar)
> has to retype a lot of the data.   You would think the stations would
> want to standardize on something (even CSV!) at least for internal use,
> but that's not the case.  I can think of a few logical reasons for this,
> but still find it crazy.  The mess is probably one reason why the data
> costs so much.

There are two primary suppliers of broadcast "Traffic" systems, BIAS and 
Enterprise. These are systems for scheduling (and invoicing and billing etc.) 
commercials, and they both interface with the common broadcast automation 
systems, producing a file that can be used directly by the station's 
automated master control switcher.

Getting BIAS or Enterprise files into formats that can be used by Library 
Management Systems or video servers is a real mess, several companies produce 
software products to do this, but each one has to be pretty well hand 

The formats used by BIAS and Enterprise are proprietary, and using them in any 
way probably involves payment to the respective vendor.

My experience is that the various departments at a TV station (Traffic, 
Engineering, sales, billing etc.) do not talk to each other, and getting any 
agreement on file formats would probably be impossible, which is essentially 
what you discovered.

I doubt that any Local Access channels use the major vendors like BIAS or 
Enterprise, for one thing they do not sell commercials, which is the core 
function of the commercial systems.

BTW - "Traffic" does not refer to anything involving the station's parking 
lot. It's basically the scheduling of content, and can get pretty complex, 
like not having two competing commercials adjacent to each other, and other 
such considerations. For example, it used to be a no-no to have two car 
commercials next to each other, nowadays it's considered OK to have a foreign 
and a domestic car ad adjacent to each other, but not two domestics etc. Some 
ad buys require specific time slots, or specific adjacencies, it can get 
quite complex. Then there are considerations like killing any airline ads in 
a newscast that contains a story about an air crash, or not putting the Ford 
spot next to a story about a major Ford recall.

Brian Wood
beww at beww.org

More information about the mythtv-users mailing list