VERIFICATION OF BROADCAST LOG BY PLAYOUT SYSTEM
1. A method comprising:
- receiving, at a media playout system, a broadcast log transmitted from a media scheduling system, wherein the broadcast log includes a restricted show;
determining, at the media playout system, a blackout period assigned to the restricted show, wherein the blackout period indicates a period of time associated with the restricted show during which at least one media item is prohibited from being scheduled;
determining, at the media playout system, that the broadcast log transmitted from the media scheduling system indicates that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period; and
in response to determining that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period, transmitting, from the media playout system to the media scheduling system, a message requesting a replacement media item to replace the at least one media item that has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period.
A media playout system receives a broadcast log transmitted from a media scheduling system. The broadcast log includes a restricted show, and the media playout system makes a first determination a blackout period assigned to the restricted show. The blackout period indicates a period of time associated with the restricted show during which at least one media item is prohibited from being scheduled. The media player also determines that the broadcast log indicates that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period. In response to determining that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period, the media playout system transmits, to the media scheduling system, a message requesting a replacement media item to replace the at least one media item that has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period.
- 1. A method comprising:
receiving, at a media playout system, a broadcast log transmitted from a media scheduling system, wherein the broadcast log includes a restricted show; determining, at the media playout system, a blackout period assigned to the restricted show, wherein the blackout period indicates a period of time associated with the restricted show during which at least one media item is prohibited from being scheduled; determining, at the media playout system, that the broadcast log transmitted from the media scheduling system indicates that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period; and in response to determining that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period, transmitting, from the media playout system to the media scheduling system, a message requesting a replacement media item to replace the at least one media item that has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
- 8. A method comprising:
receiving, at a media playout system, a broadcast log transmitted from a media scheduling system; performing, at the media playout system, a verification check on the broadcast log, the verification check identifying media items violating blackout attributes associated with restricted shows; and in response to the verification check identifying at least one improperly scheduled media item that violates the blackout attributes associated with at least one restricted show, transmitting an error message to the media scheduling system, the error message including information indicating that the at least one improperly scheduled media item was aired.
- View Dependent Claims (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)
- 15. A media automation system comprising:
an order entry system including a processor and associated memory; a scheduling system including a processor and associated memory, the scheduling system coupled to the order entry system; a media playout system including a processor and associated memory, the media playout system coupled to the scheduling system; the scheduling system configured to; receive information associated with advertising orders from the order entry system, the information associated with advertising orders including information identifying advertiser restrictions associated with restricted shows; generate broadcast logs; the media playout system configured to; receiving a broadcast log transmitted from a media scheduling system, wherein the broadcast log includes a restricted show; determine a blackout period assigned to the restricted show, wherein the blackout period indicates a period of time associated with the restricted show during which at least one media item is prohibited from being scheduled; determine that the broadcast log transmitted from the media scheduling system indicates that the at least one media item has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period; and transmitting, to the media scheduling system, a message requesting a replacement media item to replace the at least one media item that has been improperly scheduled during the blackout period.
- View Dependent Claims (16, 17, 18, 19, 20)
The present U.S. Utility Patent Application claims priority pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 120 as a continuation of U.S. Utility application Ser. No. 16/012,507, entitled “CONTROLLING ALTERATION OF ITEMS INSERTED INTO A BROADCAST LOG,” filed Jun. 19, 2018, which is a continuation of U.S. Utility application Ser. No. 14/341,234, entitled “SCHEDULING ADVERTISING DURING RESTRICTED PERIODS,” filed Jul. 25, 2014, abandoned, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/693,010, entitled “SONG REPLACEMENT WITH CONTENT SCHEDULING IN STREAMING MEDIA,” filed Dec. 3, 2012, issued as U.S. Pat. No. 9,135,218 on Sep. 15, 2015, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. Utility application Ser. No. 12/966,406, entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SELECTIVELY BROADCASTING MEDIA, filed Dec. 13, 2010, issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,326,215 on Dec. 4, 2012, which is a continuation of U.S. Utility application Ser. No. 11/535,347, entitled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SELECTIVELY BROADCASTING MEDIA,” filed Sep. 26, 2006, filed Sep. 26, 2006, issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,899,390 on Mar. 1, 2011, all of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entirety and made part of the present U.S. Utility Patent Application for all purposes.
The present invention relates to broadcast logs, and more particularly to verifying broadcast logs by a playout system.
Many broadcast stations, such as radio broadcast stations, use computers running broadcast automation software, such as the NexGen Digital™ radio broadcast automation software provided by Prophet Systems Innovation, to automate some, if not all, of an entire broadcast. Broadcast content typically includes various media events such as songs, movies, advertisements, jingles, news spots, traffic, radio host commentary, interviews, station identification, segues, beds, promos, station identification, time and temperature, voice tracks and the like.
Generally, broadcast content is stored electronically in individual files, and is compiled into a broadcast program log or playlist that may include a chronological arrangement of various types of broadcast content to create the desired listening “experience.” For example, a playlist for a radio music program may include a series of songs with station identification and advertisements interspersed at various intervals.
Many broadcast stations are part of larger broadcast systems or networks that allow broadcast programs to be shared. For example, one broadcast station may host a live program, record that program, and transmit that program to another broadcast station for rebroadcast.
When networked broadcast stations share programming, content broadcast transmitted from one broadcast station may not be appropriate for another broadcast station. For example, a broadcast program may include songs, movies and/or advertisements pertinent to a particular audience and not to another audience. Or, a program from one broadcast station may be transmitted to multiple broadcast stations having diverse audiences, such as paid subscribers to an Internet-based broadcast, or to HD radio listeners, and certain content may be undesirable for that audience.
In some cases, a main station may broadcast songs that are streamed on a streaming station. In some such cases, it may be desirable to substitute different commercial content on the streaming station. Conventional methods of substituting commercial content generally require substituting content that has the same length as the replaced content. Except in very limited circumstances, these conventional techniques are not suitable for substituting non-commercial content, because of the length of different non-commercial content varies significantly from one item to the next. Some have attempted to get around the limitations of conventional techniques by employing a complete black out of content on a stream, or by simply not streaming at all. These techniques are less than optimal.
A detailed description is provided primarily in the context of radio broadcasting, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention is not limited to radio broadcast operations. As described more specifically with respect to particular figures, an integrated media automation system can be used to ensure that advertisers who do not want to be associated with a controversial show will not have their advertisements aired during that show. For example, some widely broadcast media shows may be associated with a point of view that is controversial, or contrary to, an advertiser'"'"'s point of view. The advertiser may not want to take a chance that his product will be dragged into the controversy associated with the show, or may want to avoid validating the contrary viewpoint espoused by the show. Regardless of the advertiser'"'"'s motivations, an advertiser may not want his advertisements aired during the show, which is referred to herein as a “restricted show,” or a “restricted period.”
In general, a restricted show is a talk show, song, video, event, or other media item included in a broadcast schedule, during which at least one advertiser has prohibited placement of advertisements. The period of time during which a restricted show is scheduled for broadcast is sometimes referred to herein as a “restricted period,” a “blackout period,” a “blackout time,” or some similar derivative of these terms. A blackout period can include a buffer either before, after or both before and after the exact time during which a restricted show is scheduled to air. Thus, spot breaks immediately before and after a restricted show can also be restricted. Similarly, an entire daypart, hour, or portion of an hour that includes a restricted show can be made part of a blackout period associated with the restricted show.
An integrated media automation system can prevent placement of an advertiser'"'"'s advertisements into spot breaks occurring during, or near, the restricted show. The advertiser requesting the restriction can be tagged, added to a list, or otherwise identified and classified during an order taking process, or at some other time. Likewise, the restricted show, or a period around and including the restricted show, can be tagged. The media automation system can then schedule advertisements for spot breaks in and around the restricted show to take into account the advertiser'"'"'s prohibitions, thereby preventing advertisements associated with the prohibiting advertiser from being scheduled during the restricted show. The spot breaks in and around the restricted show can also be marked for special handling by a playout system, so that manual replacement of advertisements, or any other type of automated advertisement replacement function, is prevented. The playout system can perform a verification to ensure that no prohibited advertisements are aired during restricted time periods.
A variety of different systems can be used to schedule advertising during restricted periods, as disclosed herein. As seen in the embodiment of
In this embodiment, the primary and secondary workstations 1 & 5 each use NexGen Digital™ v.22.214.171.124 broadcast automation software. The primary file server 2 and primary audio server 3 connected to the primary workstation 1 may, for example, be mounted in a common rack and connected to other hardware that may be used for broadcast station operation, such as to an audio switcher, a universal power supply, digital reel-to-reel hardware, real-time editor hardware, mixing boards and the like. A similar arrangement may be provided for the secondary workstation 5, secondary file server 7 and secondary audio server 6. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the environment illustrated in
In this embodiment, the primary and secondary file servers 2 & 7 may be used to store various media events, and the primary and secondary audio servers 3 & 6 may be used to mix and play media events, for example, over the air or over the Internet as a radio broadcast. Accordingly, the primary and secondary audio servers 3 & 6 may each be provided with a multi stream PCI audio adapter (not shown) designed for broadcast use and having, for example, one “record” stream input and six “play” stream outputs. Such an adapter may be any suitable adapter, and may, for example, be the model ASI6122 audio adapter from Audioscience.
A user at the primary workstation 1 may create a radio broadcast program by using the broadcast automation software to arrange audio content into a log of media events. As seen in the embodiment of
In the embodiment of
As is known in the art, the relationship between the media events may be defined to enhance the radio broadcast “experience.” The various transitions between media events may include, for example, crossfades, overlap, clipping, ducking, and fade in and fade out. In the audio context, for example, “fading” generally refers to the process of changing the volume of a media event over time. “Fade in” and “fade out” thus generally refer to increasing and decreasing, respectively, the volume of a media event over time, and “cross fading” generally refers to simultaneously fading out the end of one media event, while fading in the beginning of the next media event. “Fading” is commonly done at the beginning and end of a media event, but may be accomplished during other portions of a media event, as well. “Clipping” generally refers to the process of excluding a portion of a media event during playback, such as the beginning or end of a song or video element. “Ducking” generally refers to reducing the volume level of background audio while another media event, such as a voice track, is playing. “Overlap” generally refers to simultaneous performance of media events.
So defined and arranged, the media events of such a log, or playlist, may be played in real-time as, for example, an on-air broadcast to provide the radio broadcast “experience.” With reference to
In this embodiment, the secondary audio server 6 may be configured to function as a slave to the primary audio server. With reference to
In this embodiment, when playing media events from the secondary audio server 6 buffer, various undesired media events may be skipped. For example, it may be desired to play a rotation in which all of the advertisements are skipped. As seen in the embodiment of
With reference to the embodiment of
In one embodiment, the primary audio server 3 and the secondary audio server 6 may be scheduled to begin broadcasting the same play list of media events at the same time. The primary audio server 3 may, for example, broadcast the playlist of media events to one audience, and the secondary audio server 6 may broadcast an advertisement-free version of that playlist to another audience. The primary audio server 3 may begin streaming 60 the media events, in playlist sequence, into the buffer 51, as seen with reference to
In this embodiment, the user has configured the broadcast automation software of the secondary workstation 5 to instruct the audio server 6 to identify and not play advertisement spots. In the embodiment of
In the embodiment of
Referring generally to the embodiment of
Those skilled in the art will also recognize that stretching may not be used at all. In the embodiment of
Accordingly, an appropriate buffer may be established and maintained at a level sufficient to provide a reserve of media events to fill airtime gaps. For example, a minimum buffer size of five minutes may be sufficient to cover typical advertisement spots if stretching is used. For longer station breaks, such as for news, a longer buffer may be required, and may range, for example, between 7.5 minutes and 14 minutes. In the embodiment of
Also, the broadcast 62 from the secondary audio server 6 may be supplemented from a secondary playlist. A user at the secondary workstation 6 may create a secondary log or playlist of media events suitable for the intended audience of the secondary broadcast station. The secondary log or play list may be created using the automation broadcast software to, for example, create a clock with empty song slots, define a music load format for the station (such as “R&B”), based on the music load format generate a log of music similar to the media event log 11 of
In one embodiment, with reference to
In the embodiment of
Also, if during broadcast the amount of buffered media becomes inadequate to meet airtime fill requirements, the secondary playlist 63 may be played until the buffer requirements are once again met. For example, if the buffer has less than 15 seconds of media event play time stored, the secondary playlist 63 may be played until some threshold buffer requirement is met. Alternatively, if the primary playlist 61 is exhausted, the secondary audio server 6 may switch back to broadcasting the secondary playlist 63.
If the secondary playlist 63 is also exhausted, the secondary audio server 6 may play filler material established as appropriate for that station. In the embodiment of
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the transition between media events of the secondary playlist and media events of the primary playlist may be defined in a manner noted above. For example, the last media event played from the secondary playlist may cross fade into the first media event played from the primary playlist. In the embodiment of
In one embodiment, the broadcast automation software installed on the secondary workstation may provide an indication to the user of the status of the secondary audio server'"'"'s buffer, such as how full the buffer is, which portion of the primary playlist is stored in the buffer, the types of media events stored in the buffer and the like. The broadcast automation software may also allow a user to ‘jump ahead” in the buffer to, for example, skip portions of the playlist. The broadcast automation software may allow a user to rearrange the portions of the play list stored in the buffer. Thus, the play list does not necessarily have to be played from the buffer on a first-in first-out basis. Additionally, the broadcast automation software may allow a user to “dump” buffered media events into a media events log of the secondary station, and update the playback times in that media events log based on the buffer information. Furthermore, those skilled in the art will recognize that the secondary audio server 6 may output more than one stream from buffer 51, and may separately manipulate those streams as discussed herein. For example, one stream may be entirely advertisement free, and another stream may have advertisements inserted from a secondary play list.
Referring next to
Referring next to
As illustrated at block 82, audio from the main station is being recorded. Note that although audio is used in the description of the various embodiments, the teachings herein can also be adapted for use with video or audio/video content without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure. The audio being recorded from the main station can include commercial spots, songs, voice tracks, and similar content typically provided by digital, analog, standard, and high definition radio stations used to broadcast, streaming, or otherwise provide content over the air or the Internet. As illustrated by block 83, the audio being recorded from the main station is delayed by “X” seconds. The combination of block 82 and 83 can be considered to be a buffer. The buffer delay can be initially set to a target buffer delay, as desired, but in general will include at least enough delay to facilitate substitution of songs having a generally anticipated length. In some embodiments, a variable buffer delay in the range of 30-120 seconds is used. The target delay can be set in 15 second increments, although other increments and granularities can be used. The delay “X” at block 83, is variable, and changes over time based on a delay calculated after song substitution, as described subsequently. In various embodiments, the audio delay of “X” seconds illustrated by block 83 is an actual buffer delay, as opposed to an ideal, or target buffer delay.
After the audio being record from the main station at block 82 is delayed at block 83, the downstream radio station begins playing-out the buffered audio at block 84. The buffer delay time is noted at block 85, for future use in recalculating a current delay time, selecting appropriate replacement songs, and the like.
As illustrated at block 86, during the time that the downstream radio station is playing audio from the main station, a replacement notification is received at block 86, indicating that a song scheduled to be played on the main station is to be replaced on the downstream station. In various embodiments, the replacement notification can be received from the same main station whose audio is being recorded at block 82, and includes, but is not limited to, replacement audio metadata, such as a start time, a length of a song to be replaced, and/or a song number (or other identifier) of the song to be replaced. The song number, or other identifier, allows the downstream radio station to obtain additional information about the song from various song databases, schedule generation systems, or the like as necessary or desired. Generation of the replacement notification will be discussed in more detail with respect to
As just noted, in at least one embodiment, recording of audio from main station stops at the time that the replacement notification is received. After the recording of the audio from the main station is stopped, as illustrated by block 87, the downstream radio station sends a request for a replacement song, as illustrated by block 88. The request can be sent to a replacement engine, module, server, or the like, and can include various parameters such as the song number of the song to be replaced, the airtime of the song to be replaced, a minimum song length, a maximum song length, a desired song length, and the like.
The downstream radio station can determine a minimum required song length by subtracting the current buffer length “X” from the length of the song to be replaced, and then adding a target buffer length. Thus, for example, if a song to be replaced is 3 min. long, the current buffer length is 30 seconds, and the target buffer length is 15 seconds, the minimum length song requested will be 2 min. and 45 seconds=3 min.−30 seconds+15 seconds. the minimum song length can be provided as a parameter to a replacement engine to allow the replacement engine to select an appropriate song. In some embodiments, the request for a replacement song can include the data necessary for the replacement engine to calculate the minimum song length. Furthermore, in some embodiments a song identifier, such as the number of the song to be replaced or some other song identifier, is sent to the replacement engine along with the request for replacement song.
Sending information about the song to be replaced to the replacement engine allows the replacement engine to perform a targeted song selection. The targeted song selection can also take into account user preferences and parameters if available, as well as various song selection criteria that may be implemented on a station by station basis for each individual downstream station from the main station, on a geographic basis, on a per-user basis, on a group identity basis, or the like. In some embodiments the same selection criteria can be used for substantially all of the downstream radio stations playing out content from any particular main radio station. The replacement engine can be implemented as a software module executed by the same processor or processing circuitry implementing the downstream radio station. Alternatively, the replacement engine can be implemented as a standalone process procedure on an entirely different machine than that being used to implement the downstream radio station. Less or more information can be sent along with the request for a replacement song, depending on how much information the replacement engine needs to make an informed selection, and on how much information the replacement engine can obtain about the song to be replaced from the main radio station or some other source. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the act of transmitting one or more pieces of information, as illustrated by block 88, implicitly serves as a request for replacement song, even though there is no explicit and separate stand-alone request.
As illustrated by block 89, the downstream radio player receives a song selection result from the replacement engine. The song selection result can either be a positive or negative result, indicating a selected song for substitution, or that the replacement engine has not found a replacement song. As illustrated by block 90, the song selection result is tested to determine whether the song selection result identifies a song available to the play out system of the downstream radio station. Note that in some embodiments, there are two ways for the decision at block 90 to return a negative result. First if the song selection result from the replacement engine identifies a song, but the identified song is not available to the downstream radio station'"'"'s play out system, the result is negative. Second, if the song selection result from the replacement engine indicates that no replacement song has been found, the result will be negative. A positive result at block 90 will be returned if both of the following are satisfied: 1) a replacement song is identified in the song selection result; and 2) the identified song is available for play-out by the downstream system.
If block 90 returns a negative result, a random song can be selected and used for fill, as illustrated in block 91. In some embodiments, rather than simply selecting a random song, the downstream radio station can consult a list of filler songs, and select one of those filler songs based on the play out length of the filler song or some other suitable criterion or group of criteria.
Requesting a replacement song, receiving the song selection, and deciding whether to play a song identified in the song selection or to use a random filler song, are generally performed between the time recording of audio from the main station is stopped at block 87 and the time that the remaining buffer is played out at block 92. At the conclusion of block 92, in at least one embodiment, the buffer storing recorded audio from the main station is empty prior to play-out of the replacement song at block 93.
As illustrated by block 94, a song marker is received, indicating to the downstream radio station that buffering of the audio content from the main station is to be resumed. This marker should generally be received at a time prior to completing play-out of the replacement song, and can be received in the normal course of obtaining content from the main radio station. In other embodiments, the main station can transmit extra metadata, or a standalone marker or start trigger, to the downstream station.
In at least one embodiment, in response to receiving the song marker, a delay time is recalculated and recording of audio from the main station begins again at block 82. The new delay time calculated at block 95 can be determined by subtracting the replacement song length from the original song length and adding the previous buffer delay time. For example, if the previous delay time “X” in block 83, which serves as the current delay time until the delay time recalculation is complete, was 30 seconds, the original song length was 3 min., and the replacement song length was 3 min. and 10 seconds, the recalculated delay time at block 95 will be 180 seconds (original song length)−180 seconds (replacement song length)+30 seconds (buffer delay), which results in a calculated new buffer delay time of 20 seconds. From this example, it can be observed that the buffer delay in which audio from the main station is recorded has decreased by 10 seconds, from 30 seconds to 20 seconds, leaving a 20 second delay for use in performing another song replacement at a subsequent time. Additional song replacements can be performed, and with each such replacement the buffer delay can be varied to accommodate differences between an original song and a replacement song. Although not specifically illustrated, if the newly calculated buffer delay time is negative, or below a target threshold, the current replacement song can be faded out to facilitate reintegrating the main station'"'"'s audio into the downstream radio station'"'"'s stream.
Referring next to
In response to the main radio station encountering the song replacement trigger, a decision is made at block 103 to determine whether the song associated with the replacement trigger is adjacent to a voice track, and whether on air talent is in control of the content being played out by the main radio station, even if the song is not adjacent to a voice track. This check is made in at least some embodiments, because there is an increased likelihood that a voice track being played adjacent to a song with the replacement trigger will refer to the song. It is generally undesirable to play a voice track that refers to a song, and not also play the song, because listeners could become confused or frustrated, thereby negatively impacting the listener experience. Thus, if it is determined at block 103 that the song to be replaced is adjacent to a voice track, or that on air talent is in control of the content being played out by main radio station, method 100 proceeds to block 104 and replacement of the song is not triggered, or is suppressed. Voice tracks, live audio items, and station identifiers are examples of interstitial audio items, and although the term “voice tracks” is used herein for convenience, any reference to voice tracks is intended to include other interstitial audio items, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
If it is determined at block 103 that the song to be replaced is not adjacent to a voice track, and that on-air talent is not controlling, another decision is made at block 105 to determine whether other business rules might prohibit replacement of the song. Other business rules can include, but are not limited to, decisions regarding royalty payments, user preferences, advertiser requirements that an advertisement be played adjacent to a particular song, or the like. If other business rules prohibit replacement of the song, method 100 proceeds again the block 104 where replacement of the song is not triggered, or where replacement of the song is inhibited. If other business rules do not prohibit replacement of the song, as determined at block 105, the method 100 proceeds to block 106, where a replacement event notification is sent to one or both of a downstream radio station and a replacement engine. The replacement event notification can include metadata, such as a song identifier, or a song length, category, or the like, which can be used to inform replacement song selection decisions.
Referring next to
As illustrated at block 114, a check is made to determine whether the replacement engine can find the original song, i.e. the song to be replaced, in the schedule. As illustrated at block 115, if the song to be replaced cannot be found in the schedule, method 110 proceeds to block 126, which illustrates setting the song selection result to not found. A song selection result of “not found” is then delivered to the downstream play out system at block 127.
If the original song is found in the schedule at block 115, method 110 proceeds to block 116, which illustrates requesting replacement songs from scheduler database. The request for replacement songs can include song parameters, such as song category, genre, or the like, such that only desired types of songs will be returned from the scheduler database. In at least some embodiments, the songs requested from the scheduler database are requested to be of a different category than the song being replaced. Thus, for example, if a hard rock song is being played on the main station, the replacement engine may request classic rock songs to be returned from the scheduler database. The request for replacement songs at block 116 can also include various parameters such as song length, the number of songs requested, and the like. In other embodiments, the replacement engine can request specific song titles or classifications from the scheduler database.
At block 117, a check is made to see whether any songs are returned from the scheduler database request. If not, method 110 proceeds again to block 126, where the song selection result is set to not found, and the song selection result is delivered to the downstream play out system at block 127. If, however, the request for replacement songs at block 116 results in the scheduler database returning one or more songs, the method proceeds to block 118, where the replacement engine iterates through the list of songs returned from the scheduler database.
At block 119, a song is retrieved from the list to be evaluated. At block 120, the song being evaluated is checked to determine whether it meets a minimum length requirement, or whether the song is within a threshold length, either or both of which can be specified in the event information or received along with the request for replacement song. If the song being evaluated does not meet the minimum length requirements (or threshold requirements) the method returns to block 119 where the next song in the list is selected for evaluation.
If the song being evaluated meets the minimum (or threshold) length requirements, method 110 proceeds to block 121, where a determination is made about whether the currently evaluated song is either: 1) the first song found to meet the threshold length requirement; or 2) shorter than any other previous songs identified as meeting the minimum (or threshold) length requirement. Thus, a positive result at block 121 means that the shortest song meeting the minimum length requirement is carried through to block 122, where data regarding that song is retained for later use, and possible transmission to a downstream radio station or play-out system. At block 121, if the song being evaluated is not the first song found, and is not shorter than any other previous song found, method 110 returns to block 119 where the next song list is checked.
At block 123 a check is made to determine if each of the songs in the list of songs has been evaluated. If the end of the list has not been reached method 110 returns to block 119, and subsequent songs continue to be evaluated until the end of the list is reached. Once the end of the list is reached, as determined at block 123, method 110 proceeds to block 124, where a check is made to see if a song has been chosen. If no song has satisfied the length criteria, the method 110 proceeds to block 126 where the song selection result is set to “not found” and sent to the downstream play out system at block 127.
If a song has been chosen, the scheduler is updated with the newly selected song at block 125. As shown by block 128, a song identifier of the selected song is entered into the selection result. At block 127 a song selection result including the song identifier is sent to the downstream play-out system. Thus, the song selection result sent to the downstream play out system will indicate whether no song has been found, or will indicate which song has been selected by the replacement engine.
Some or all of systems, elements and techniques related to selecting replacement media items, along with other systems, elements and techniques disclosed previously herein, can be used in combination with the disclosure discussed below with respect to
Integrated media automation system 135 includes order entry systems 137, scheduling system 139, and playout system 143. Order entry systems 137 can work in conjunction with scheduling system 139 to allow advertisers or other entities to view available media inventory, to select one or more media items as restricted shows, and to prohibit advertiser content from being scheduled or aired during a restricted show. In some embodiments, an advertiser is presented a list of shows already designated as restricted shows, while in other embodiments a customer can designate one of the media items in the available inventory as a restricted show. Order entry systems 137 can tag customer records to reflect the prohibition against advertisements being placed during a restricted show.
Order entry systems 137 can transmit advertising orders, and information associated with advertising orders, to scheduling system 139 via a TransAct® TLink. The information associated with advertising orders can include a list of advertisers that have requested their advertisements not to be scheduled during restricted shows, advertisements to be scheduled, and the like. In at least one embodiment, the flags associated with show restrictions are transmitted in conjunction with advertising orders.
Scheduling system 139 can be used to generate broadcast logs, sometimes referred to as traffic logs, for one or more playout systems. A broadcast log includes a completed schedule for a given period of time such as an hour, or a daypart, and specifies particular media items to be played out during particular portions of the given period. For example, a broadcast log can specify that a given song will be aired from 8:00 am to 8:03:52, a specified cola advertisement from 8:03:52 to 8:04:31, a particular car advertisement from 8:04:31 to 8:06:02, a first portion of a given show from 8:06:02 to 8:15:00, a predetermined public service announcement from 8:15:00 to 8:15:30, a particular computer advertisement from 8:15:30 to 8:16:42, a specific beverage advertisement from 8:16:42 to 8:18:04, a second portion of the show from 8:18:04 to 8:30:00, and so on.
Scheduling system 139 can use list of shows 141 and information available from various scheduling system databases to determine which shows or other media items to include in the broadcast log. Generally, scheduling system 139 uses information from a master or station clock to determine which types of media to place in which positions of the log, and where in the log to place advertisements. The general use of rule-based systems to select media items for inclusion in a broadcast log is generally known to those of ordinary skill in the art. Advertisements are typically placed in spot blocks pre-assigned to particular times in the master or station clock.
The term spot block, as used herein, refers to a portion of time in the clock reserved for placement of one or more advertisements or advertising content items. Thus, a broadcast log includes one or more advertisements scheduled to be played during an empty spot block included in a clock. In general, scheduling system 139 can place advertisements according to a preferred set of advertising rules, except that in various embodiments described herein, even if advertisements from certain advertisers would have otherwise been selected by the set of advertising rules, placement of those advertisements can be prohibited from being placed in spot blocks during restricted shows. In some embodiments, the prohibition can be on a per-advertiser basis—without requiring the advertiser to specify particular advertisements to prohibit. In other embodiments, the prohibition can be on a per-advertisement basis, so that an advertiser can allow one advertisement to be aired during a restricted show, but prohibit a different advertisement from being aired during that same restricted show. Various combinations of per-advertiser and per-advertisement prohibitions can also be used. Furthermore, different restriction bases can be automatically implemented, so that time-consuming manual alteration of automatically generated broadcast logs is not needed to comply with advertiser restrictions or prohibitions regarding restricted shows.
To further explain placement of advertisements subject to advertiser prohibitions, consider a case where a show included in a broadcast log is a restricted show, and ABC123 computer manufacturer wants to prohibit any of its advertisements from being aired during the restricted show. Even if the advertising rules used by scheduling system 139 would otherwise result in an advertisement for ABC123 computer manufacturer being selected for inclusion in the broadcast log during the restricted show, that advertisement would not be scheduled. Instead, a non-prohibited advertisement would be schedule in place advertisement for ABC123 computer manufacturer. Similarly, if ABC123 computer manufacturer wanted to prohibit a particular advertisement from being scheduled to air during the restricted show, that particular advertisement would not be selected for inclusion in a spot break occurring during the prohibited show, but other advertisements from ABC123 computer manufacturer would not be prohibited.
Advertisements to be considered for inclusion in the broadcast log can be obtained from order entry system 137, from third party ad services 133, or from some other suitable source, such as an advertisement database (not illustrated) available to scheduling system 139. Additionally, scheduling system 139 can use a list of shows 141, which can be obtained from Premiere® 157, to assist in scheduling items to be included in the broadcast log. List of shows 141 can include information about shows to be aired, times the shows are scheduled to be aired, and the stations on which those shows are to be aired. In some embodiments, list of shows 141 includes a list of shows, times, and stations for multiple playout systems (not illustrated).
In various embodiments, shows, spot breaks, spots, and/or other items within the broadcast log can be flagged or marked with restrictions including, for example, a blackout attribute. The flag or other information indicating a restriction or blackout attribute can be included in metadata belonging to the media item itself, or included in the broadcast log and its associated information and metadata. In at least one embodiment, scheduling system 139 can send a broadcast log including information about prohibitions, blackouts, or other restrictions related to restricted shows to playout system 143. Playout system 143 performs a verification check on the broadcast log, catalogs “allowed spots per show,” passes show restriction information to one or more order entry systems, e.g. AdsWizz, in metadata, and sends error and/or verification messages back to scheduling system 139. An error message and a verification message can be a single message in some embodiments, while in other different messages are used to transmit error information and verification information.
An example of an error that may be reported by playout system 143 is improperly scheduling an advertisement from an advertiser in the list of advertisers who have prohibited advertisement placement in a spot break occurring during or near to a restricted show. Playout system 143 can perform the verification, in whole or in part, based on any or all of the following: information included in allowed-ads-per-show database 145; information included in list of shows 147; restriction information received in conjunction with the broadcast log; and information available to playout system 143 from other sources or locations, such as from order entry system 137, or the like.
The allowed-ads-per-show database 145 can include, among other things, information that identifies a pool of advertisements from which advertisements for a particular show can be chosen. This information can be obtained from third party ad services 133, from another database or service implemented as part of integrated media automation system 135, or from another suitable source. In some embodiments, instead of an allowed-ads-per-show database 145, a prohibited-ads-per-show database (not illustrated) can be included in playout system 143 and used to perform verifications or advertisement replacement.
Playout system 143 can provide output to one or many different stations, such as broadcast station 169, which broadcasts media content to media consumers 167 using radio frequency (RF) modulated transmissions; and streaming station 163, which can transmit media content to media consumers 167 via a network such as Internet 165 using, for example packet switched encoding techniques. Although not specifically illustrated, playout system 143 can itself use the Internet 165 or another suitable communications network for transmitting information to, and receiving information from, broadcast station 169 and streaming station 163.
In some embodiments, system 130 includes, or provides access to, Premiere® 157 and Media Monitors 151. Media monitors 151 monitors actual playout of shows, advertisements, and other media items on multiple media stations. In at least one embodiment, Media monitors 151 has access to schedules for the monitored stations, so that a comparison can be made between media items that were scheduled for playout and media items that were actually played out on each monitored station. Differences between scheduled playouts and actual playouts can be reported to Premiere® 157. In other embodiments, Media monitors 151 can report actual playouts to Premiere® 157, in place of or in addition to differences between scheduled and actual playouts.
Premiere® 157 can maintain, or obtain access to, a master list 159 of shows, times, and stations from scheduling system 139. In some embodiments, master list 159 can include information from more than one scheduling system 139. Premiere® can use information obtained from media monitors 151 and master list 159 to generate list of shows 141 and 147. Additionally, Premiere® 157 can also generate automated error reports 161. In some embodiments automated error reports can include information about prohibited advertisements that were improperly aired during a restricted show, during a buffer around a restricted show, and during periods of time designated as blackout periods.
Referring next to
Viero® 203 sends the traffic log to NexGen server 197, which obtains content from content receipt modules and subsystems 188, obtains a music log from GSelector 207, verifies the Traffic Log, and sends marked media files to NexGen Playout 205. NexGen Playout 205 plays out the media files obtained from NexGen Server 197 to broadcast station 206. Media Monitor'"'"'s 209 and Premiere® shows list 211 cooperate to monitor played out media files, determine inconsistencies between scheduled media items and actually played-out media items, and to provide monitoring reports to NexGen playout 205 and Viero® 203.
Also illustrated in
Order entry systems TransAct® 181, Traffic Link 183, and BMS (TTWN) 201 can add flags or other information to order records, advertiser records, or other records to provide blackout indicators that specify whether or not advertisements in the order have been explicitly permitted or prohibited from being played out during restricted shows. In some embodiments, a default blackout indicator can be assigned to orders for which no preference for inclusion or prohibition is specified. In some embodiments, if the default is set to allow, at least some advertisements in the order will be able to be assigned to spot breaks occurring during or near a restricted show. If the default is set to prohibit, at least some advertisements in the order will be prohibited from being scheduled in spot breaks occurring during or near a restricted show.
The blackout indicators can, in various embodiments, apply to the order, the advertiser, to particular advertisements, or to some combination of these. Multiple flags or blackout indicators can also be used, so that one or more flags is dedicated to a restricted status of the order, one or more flags is dedicated to a restricted status of the advertiser, ad one or more flags is dedicated to a restricted status of particular advertisements. Additionally, the blackout indicators can be applied to either a single show, or to a group of shows. For example, a particular order may have multiple blackout indicators or flags specifying that advertisements in the order should be prohibited from one particular show, but not from other shows.
In some cases, one or more blackout indicators can specify that one or more advertisements in the order are prohibited from being played in all shows designated as restricted, or in a particular subset of restricted shows. Various combinations of flags and other information can be included in each order so that, for example, one advertisement is prohibited from being scheduled during a first restricted show, another advertisement is prohibited from being scheduled during a second restricted show, but not the first restricted show, and all other advertisements from an advertiser are prohibited from being scheduled during a third restricted show, but are allowed during the first and second restricted show. Various other combinations are also possible.
Referring next to
As shown by block 223, information about an advertisement to be considered for insertion or scheduling in the selected spot break is obtained. Note that the advertisement itself need not be retrieved, at this point, just information sufficient to make a decision about whether or not the advertisement will be scheduled in the current spot break. Thus, reference to obtaining the advertisement, unless otherwise required by context, need not include actually obtaining the media content.
As illustrated at block 225, a check is made to determine whether or not the spot break being scheduled is within a restricted show. The determination made at block 225 can be made based, at least in part on flags or blackout indicators associated with advertisers, advertisements, the spot break, the show or some combination of these. The blackout indicators can be included in, and obtained from, order records, advertiser records, advertisement records, a clock from which the broadcast log is being generated, a separate file including information about allowed or prohibited advertisements, or some combination thereof.
If it is determined at block 225 that the spot break is not within a restricted show, a check is made at block 227 to determine whether the spot break falls within a buffer around the restricted show. A spot block that is either within a restricted show, or within a buffer around a restricted show, is considered to be within a black out time. In some embodiments, the buffer around a restricted show is limited to spot breaks immediately preceding or following the restricted show. In other embodiments, the buffer is assigned a specific duration, between 0 and 30 minutes before and/or after a restricted show. Any spot break that includes a portion that falls within the buffer can be designated as being within a blackout time or blackout period. In some implementations, buffers are truncated at the beginning and/or end of specified time periods, such as hours, or days, or dayparts. Thus, a 30-minute buffer that would normally begin at 3:45 and end at 4:15 can be truncated to begin at 3:45 and end at 3:59. Similarly, a buffer period may be prohibited from crossing midnight, or from spanning across dayparts.
If the spot break is neither within a restricted show, nor within a buffer around the restricted show, the advertisement can be scheduled subject to “normal” advertisement placement rules, as illustrated by block 237. If the spot break is within a blackout time, a blackout attribute that prohibits later alteration of the content scheduled in the spot break can be assigned to the spot break. The blackout attribute can be a flag inserted into the broadcast log or metadata associated with the broadcast log, that prohibits later manual or automated changes to the flagged spot break. Thus, once an advertisement is selected for inclusion in the spot break, that spot break is flagged to prevent local stations from manually replacing that advertisement. Later replacement of the advertisement by automated scheduling software can also be prevented by including a blackout attribute in the broadcast log.
Beginning at block 231, the advertisement obtained at block 223 can be considered for placement. At block 231, an advertiser associated with the advertisement can be identified based on information included in an order record, an advertisement record, or the like. At block 233, a check is made to determine whether the identified advertiser is in a list of advertisers prohibiting placement of their advertisements in restricted shows. The list of advertisers can be pre-compiled, for example by an ordering system, or an advertiser'"'"'s record can be inspected during the scheduling process to determine if that advertiser has place restrictions on its advertisements. In some embodiments, all advertisements associated with advertisers who have placed restrictions on their advertisements can have a flag included in the advertising record. In this way, a determination about whether or not an advertiser is in the list of advertisers can be made by inspecting the advertisement record, because in some embodiments, if the advertisement is flagged, the advertiser associated with that record must necessarily be on the list of advertisers prohibiting placement of some or all advertisements during restricted shows.
In some embodiments, there are multiple lists of advertisers prohibiting advertisement placement. These lists can be maintained on a per-show basis, so that all advertisers prohibiting placement of advertisements in show A are on one list, while advertisers prohibiting placement of advertisements in show B are on a second list. In some implementations, the lists can be implanted by flagging advertiser records, so that a first flag on the advertiser'"'"'s record indicates a first restricted show, and a second flag on the advertiser'"'"'s record indicates a second restricted show. Also, in some embodiments, advertisers can be permitted to choose a customized buffer period, and that information can also be included in the advertiser'"'"'s record, or elsewhere.
As shown by block 235, if the spot break is within a blackout time, and the advertisement is prohibited from being placed during the blackout time, then another advertisement can be chosen for consideration, and method 220 returns to block 231 to determine if scheduling the newly selected advertisement during the blackout period is prohibited.
As illustrated by block 237, if the decision made at block 233 indicates that the advertisement being considered for placement is not associated with an advertiser in the list of advertisers prohibiting placement of an advertisement during the restricted show, the advertisement can be scheduled in the spot break, subject to other scheduling rules. Thus, as shown by block 237, the advertisement being considered for scheduling will be scheduled in the spot break, subject to the normal advertisement scheduling rules, if either scheduling is not prohibited, or the spot break is not within a blackout time period.
As shown by block 239, once an advertisement is selected for insertion into the spot break, a check is made to determine if the more spot breaks need to be scheduled to complete the broadcast log. If there are more spot breaks to be scheduled, method 220 returns to block 221, and selects the next spot break to schedule. If there are not more spot breaks to schedule, the completed broadcast log can be delivered to a playout system, which can itself perform a verification to ensure that no advertisements are improperly scheduled.
Referring next to
As illustrated at block 259, in addition to adding the advertiser to a list, an ordering system can also add a show associated with the advertiser'"'"'s prohibition to a list of restricted shows, if the show is not already included in the list. For example, if a particular show is considered by an advertiser to be too controversial, and the advertiser prohibits its advertisements from being aired during that controversial show, the ordering system, or some other portion of an integrated media automation system, can flag a record associated with the show. Marking the show'"'"'s record with a blackout indicator can be used alone or in conjunction with other information, to notify a scheduling system that scheduling spot breaks within the show might require special action on the part of the scheduling system to prevent prohibited scheduling of an advertisement.
As also illustrated by block 259, access to currently scheduled shows can be provided to an ordering system, and the ordering system can mark the times during which the restricted show is scheduled as blackout times. In some embodiments, the ordering system can pass order information to a scheduling system during an order intake process, and allow the scheduling system to set blackout times and flag the appropriate records. Blackout times can also be marked during other phases of the scheduling process.
Referring next to
As illustrated by block 275, a check is made to see whether any advertisements associated with advertisers who have prohibited placement of their advertisements in restricted shows have been scheduled during the blackout times. In some embodiments, this determination can be based on lists of allowed advertisements, lists of prohibited advertisements, information included in the broadcast log, information included in metadata files associated with media files scheduled in the broadcast log, based on information from an ordering system, based on information included in advertiser records, advertisement records, show records, information from monitoring systems, or the like.
If the playout system determines that an advertisement has been improperly scheduled during a restricted show, or in a buffer around the restricted show, a replacement advertisement can be requested, as shown in block 279. If there are no advertisements improperly scheduled during blackout periods, the log can be played out normally, as shown at block 277.
While the invention has been described with reference to the foregoing embodiments, other modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art by study of the specification and drawings. For example, the foregoing description may apply in a television, video, and text broadcast context, where the automation playlist may comprise media events of audio and/or visual nature, and the broadcast equipment involve, for example, television broadcasting equipment. Also, the automation play list need not be generated by broadcast automation software, and may simply be an arrangement of media events generated by known music mixing software, such as Adobe Audition. It is thus intended that the following appended claims define the invention and include such modifications as fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.