NMR’s Phoenix software shortlisted for IBC 2017 Innovations Award

June 19, 2017

When ITV approached NMR to overhaul its outdated promo delivery processes, they couldn’t find anything on the market that would do the job – so, they decided to build one themselves. Having just completed their three-year mission, the TV network and the media technology systems integrator have created and implemented a revolutionary new software application: ITV Phoenix. Now, armed with the ability to solve a major industry problem, NMR’s CEO, Neil Anderson, explains why this is a game-changer for agencies, brands, and broadcasters alike...

Think of the last campaign you created. Ask yourself: how was it born? 

For many it’s not dissimilar to real life; it’s a long and manual process - sometimes with a lot of painful stages.

Peel back the surface of an ad campaign and beneath the glossy exterior there’s a lot of moving parts. From a tech perspective, it can look like Frankenstein’s monster – a lot of pieces, of old and new tech hashed together in the process.

But we’re in the age of AI, why are we still working like Frankenstein when we could be working like Terminator? 

Well, maybe because we aren’t murderous monsters, but we are all determined to make something amazing. The fact is, the current standard process of campaign management is still shockingly manual, but the potential is so great.

For such a fast-paced industry obsessed with innovation and forward thinking, it’s a major blind spot. Perhaps understandably so: up until now, an integrated platform that offers end-to-end service simply didn’t exist. 

Needless to say, the current manual process eats up precious time and money, which could be spent fuelling real creativity. 

Recently Britain’s largest broadcaster, ITV, took their campaign management process into their own hands. They put Frankenstein’s Monster to rest and decided to build something from the ashes – ITV Phoenix.

ITV Creative is responsible for producing over 1000 promos for TV per month. Each episode of every programme is advertised across its many channels, meaning constant and repetitive manual processes from creating them to versioning and airing. 

They asked us at NMR, with our reputation for having supplied the Guardian’s video management systems, to help them create and implement an entirely new campaign management system, to streamline the production and delivery of on-air and digital marketing campaigns. Cue Terminator.

The result of our three-year quest? A revolutionary new software platform: no more painful and messy processes - just a slick and smart system to complete the modernisation of a company. For agencies and brands, this is a game-changer and we’re convinced it’s the future of how people will make and deliver content. 

New channels are fast emerging, from TV, web, to social media. When once you were tasked with creating several versions of one campaign, you could now be asked to create 500 versions – all optimised for different markets, languages, subtitles, platforms, social media, and broadcasters. In the face of this new landscape, traditional ways to collaborate and communicate ideas just don’t cut it. 

Currently, solutions are good at either hosting assets or storing campaign information – but really struggle when it comes to bringing the two together. We unified this disjointed production process to create a single source of truth: ITV Phoenix.

So, what did we do? 

Fully integrated and automated

Put simply, ITV Phoenix is an incredibly powerful software platform for end-to-end campaign management, from initial brief to final delivery. 

One big and highly laborious task for ITV was to manually create multiple versions of clocks and end boards, ITV Phoenix now automates this operation, along with review and approval, automated QC, asset delivery and archiving.

Overall, we transformed painful, tech-heavy, office-based processes into a one-click, self-serve from anywhere experience - making sign-off and promo delivery a breeze. 

User-friendly

As tech-heavy as it sounds, ITV Phoenix’s complex workflow system is actually a very easy to use interface packaged in sleek modern architecture. We teamed up with specialist user experience agency, 100 Shapes, to design an intuitive user interface and deliver smart features such as campaign status indicators, and integration into GSuite Apps and Avid post-production systems. 

Bespoke

Getting ITV’s marketing teams, creatives, and media planners involved at the prototype stage helped us tailor the software to speak to their exact needs. By interacting with the clickable prototypes we built, users could influence the design of the interface and really make it their own. 

Now, this IBC2017 Innovation Award shortlisted software platform is available to agencies, brands, and other broadcasters that want to deliver campaigns more efficiently. Having put in the hard work and witnessed the incredible results of the tried and tested system, it’s a model we’re excited to adapt to the unique needs and workflows of the creative ad industry. 

I know for a fact that the traditional approach to campaign management is unsustainable – clunky and needlessly time-consuming, it goes against everything adland stands for. It’s something that companies tend to put off, but now that there’s a pain-free, fully integrated offering on the market for the very first time, there’s no excuse. It’s future-proofing, plain and simple. So, why not modernise now before your competitors beat you to it?

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