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Big on Telecom: RBNL leverages communication tools for efficient operations

November 30, 2012

 

A part of the Reliance Group, Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL) is a multimedia entertainment conglomerate, functioning in the areas of radio and television broadcasting, intellectual property, and out-of-home advertising. The company’s business verticals include 92.7 BIG FM, BIG CBS, BIG Magic, BIG Live, Big Productions and BIG Street.

RBNL has a client base of over 1,000 and 52 offices spread across the country. Its telecom infrastructure, which supports large volumes of data across branch offices, helps consolidate and streamline business processes across these locations.

tele.net takes a look at the company’s telecom initiatives…

Communications infrastructure

Telecom has been playing a vital role in RBNL’s day-to-day functioning since its inception. Says Shahid Ali, senior manager, technical, “A broadcasting company has two distinct constituents – the transmitting station and the studio centre that are co-located via various telecom links. In case these are not co-located, they have to be connected via a suitable link, for which several conditions such as the type of telecom facilities to be provided, appropriate technical parameters and the choice of telecom equipment must be closely examined. Then, considering the requirements of the broadcaster, the grade of the radio station and the market viability of the station, a telecom network is set up.”

To transmit audio broadcasts from the studio to the transmitter (called the studio transmitter link), several telecom links are used. These include very small aperture terminals, leased lines and ISDN lines.

A broadcasting company requires a telecom network to support digital recording and playback machines, connect the studio to its various branch offices, broadcast to the general public on a daily basis and support live broadcasting of local shows.

“Today, multimedia companies in India have several stations spread across the country. These are connected with multiple telecom links to the corporate office in a point-to-point network through virtual private networks and leased lines,” says Ali. “With the availability of advanced technologies, most of the studios and transmitters are interlinked and, therefore, can be accessed from any location.”

Besides telecom, RBNL also makes use of several IT tools that ensure high network uptime; maintenance and storage of cue sheets, daily logs and song databases; etc.

Automation software is another important tool that has been deployed by the company. “In any broadcasting company, automation software is the main tool used for operating and tracking the content being used by the studio on a daily basis. The software supports the log with all the radio spots, songs to be broadcast and other audio links. It also supports an entire audio database and plays each audio track available in the log as per the station’s requirement.”

Ali adds that the telecommunications system required for this software is minimal and consists of servers that support all operating systems.

“To operate the automation software, a team of 30-50 employees is required at all stations located in the metros, while 10-15 employees are required in other cities. The team in a broadcasting company usually consists of the programming, sales, marketing and technical personnel.”

Challenges and benefits

According to Ali, the company does not face any major challenges with respect to its communications set-up. Its leased line set-up, for instance, enables it to utilise its bandwidth more efficiently without downtime or outages. ISDN connectivity has helped the organisation streamline communications between its offices as well as undertake day-to-day operations more effectively.

Going forward, RBNL will focus on enhancing the networking pattern, whereby most of the company’s stations will be controlled by a single, centrally located station with the help of wide area network connectivity.

 

 
 

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