Stratatech

Stratatech automates TV recording and analysis with SnapStream

February 24 2009 by Lynne Burke

Stratatech is an IT and consulting company that offers analysis of television marketing efforts as one of their services. To do this, Stratatech provides clients with detailed reports that measure and evaluate on-air mentions versus cost for specific televised sporting events.

How Stratatech's service works: So let's say your company decided to sponsor a NASCAR event. Stratatech would record that televised event, then carefully listen to the recording of the program for mentions of your company's name, and finally tally up the number of media mentions. They would then compare the cost of sponsorship against the number of media mentions to evaluate whether the exposure received was worth the cost.

The Old Way: Stratatech was coordinating recording between 6 and 8 TV programs at once on cumbersome VCRs and VHS tapes and needed an easier way to schedule recordings.

“We would be recording anything from a NASCAR race, which can be multiple hours, to a two-hour basketball game throughout the day,” notes Fior Lostumbo, Sales Associate for Stratatech.

Some notes about the old, labor intensive VCR/VHS process at Stratatech:

  • Television programs were scheduled manually by VCR and recorded on VHS tapes
  • Once a program of interest was recorded, it then had to be manually reviewed by a human for mentions of their clients.
  • Mentions would be tallied up and manually entered to a separate system, which they had designed to analyze the media exposure versus the cost to the client.

They needed a better and faster way to monitor television.

The SnapStream Way: Stratatech’s growing clientele prompted them to look for a more efficient TV monitoring solution.

SnapStream delivered that solution, with the capacity to record up to eight channels at once, and enough storage for 2,300 hours of recordings. In addition, the SnapStream appliance allowed Stratatech to automatically search closed-captioning data for mentions of their clients, making the data collection process much simpler, more efficient and more accurate.

Fior Lostumbo explains, “Previously, we would have to sit and listen to audio for mentions of our clients. Now we simply just use the keyword search feature, saving us immense amounts of time.”

Some of the benefits that SnapStream has brought to Stratatech's media monitoring and analysis operation:

  • Automated Scheduling: Stratatech's 8-tuner SnapStream appliance gives them the ability to easily schedule and manage TV recordings and avoid conflict using a simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Faster, Automated Search: With SnapStream’s search technology, Stratatech is able to quickly and accurately pinpoint media mentions with a simple keyword search.
  • Less Physical Space: Recording and archiving recordings digitally has eliminated banks of VHS tapes and VCRs.
  • Integration using SnapStream's powerful API: SnapStream’s powerful API (view the SnapStream Enterprise API) allowed Stratatech to integrate their in-house data collection system with TV data from the SnapStream appliance, eliminating the need to manually input data from one system to another.

The old set up of VCRs:

Lots of VHS tapes, too:

The SnapStream setup in the rack under the TV; Stratatech can now schedule, record and search TV straight from their desktop:


Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Rodeo Success Story

As a central part of its public relations effort, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo creates a daily collection of media mentions during its annual celebration of Western culture. As a result of getting an 8-tuner SnapStream, the Rodeo was able to:

  • Simplify how they record and edit media coverage
  • Gain direct access to TV on their PCs
  • Save time and effort for compiling clip reels

The Challenge

Any entertainment group needs to advertise, but with 1.8 million visitors over the course of four weeks each year, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in a special category of public relations. Marketing this massive event requires a level of media awareness that surpasses the capabilities of most organizations: the show’s management must keep track of its media presence during a period when an entire city is talking about it. Before, during, and after the Rodeo’s yearly run, the event is featured on multiple local and national TV networks on a daily basis. “We go to a great effort to make it easy for the media to cover us,” says Managing AV Director James Davidson, and for the Rodeo that requires recording and editing large amounts of media coverage.

The Rodeo originally used a bank of VCRs for media monitoring. When this solution became too cumbersome and time-consuming, the VCR setup was replaced with a bank of standalone Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Each unit recorded or displayed one channel at a time, and in order to copy a program from the recorder to a PC, it was necessary to first burn the program to DVD. The Rodeo’s AV staff would pull clips from each DVD and then recombine them into a clip reel, which would be rebroadcast over the Rodeo’s internal network during the event. While this solution did allow the Rodeo to record its TV appearances, the editing process was cumbersome. The major point of pain in the Rodeo’s news monitoring system was the process of creating clip reels: burning a DVD, ripping it onto an editing machine, and then burning the combined clips back to DVD was extremely inconvenient. The Rodeo wanted to streamline this process.

The Solution

Now, the 8-tuner Snapstream appliance provides automatic recording capability for up to 8 channels simultaneously, eliminating the need for standalone DVR boxes. The appliance has fault-tolerant storage for up to three weeks of regular recordings of both local and national news broadcasts on which the Rodeo might be mentioned. SnapStream records directly into MPEG-2 format on a Windows-based machine, and the included Web Player enables users to view and download videos over the Rodeo’s LAN. Recordings can now be transferred directly onto an editing machine, and the effort and time required for compiling clip reels has been reduced dramatically.

Houston Rodeo SnapStream Configuration

A DirecTV signal from the roof of the Reliant Center runs into the Rodeo’s A/V offices, where it is decoded by a bank of satellite boxes. The Rodeo runs the signals from these boxes into a modulator, which mixes them with the Rodeo’s closed-circuit channels to create a custom cable lineup. An office-wide RF feed of this lineup runs into the SnapStream appliance. Users on the editing PC, or any other networked PC, can retrieve recordings for viewing or stream live TV from the appliance, using the Snapstream Web Player.

‍About the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been part of Houston for 75 years. With 18,000 volunteers and more than 1.8 million visitors, it is one of the largest cultural events in Texas. Since the Show’s beginning in 1932, it has contributed more than $200 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, the Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence, and other educational and youth programs. Since 2002, the Houston Rodeo has been a co-tenant in the 1.9 million-square-foot Reliant Stadium, the largest and most expensive rodeo and football facility ever built.

About SnapStream

Based out of Houston, SnapStream has been helping organizations record tv for over a decade.

Apart from large entertainment operations like the Rodeo and the United Center in Chicago, our customer base include dozens of Sports teams from the NFL, NHL, MLS and the NBA.

SnapStream is also used by hundreds of others from many different industries including The Daily Show, the US Senate, New York Times and Buzzfeed.


Sponsorship Science

Improving Marketing & Sponsorship Analysis

Sponsorship Science, a sponsorship research consultancy firm, uses SnapStream to:

  • Reliably record television feeds
  • Improve how they gather data from television
  • Expand the depth of sponsorship anaylsis for their clients
  • Integrate into their propriety analysis software

The Challenge

Sponsorship Science specializes in the complex environment of sports sponsorship – performing comprehensive analysis of multiple forms of media, including television.

Before integrating SnapStream, Sponsorship Science had built their own TV recording system which faced technical challenges, such as:

  • Files that were difficult to manage and sort
  • Recordings in .wmv format, subpar video quality
  • Unreliable recording hardware

Their system’s inefficiencies impacted Sponsorship Science’s ability to gather data from TV and provide a thorough analysis for their clients. Sponsorship Science needed a solution that was reliable, easy to manage, and scalable.

The Solution

Sponsorship Science deployed a multi-channel SnapStream to stream and record channels 24/7. Like a DVR, SnapStream’s recording schedule could be pre­set to capture primary events or adjusted on the fly to capture hard­-to-track secondary broadcasts.

SnapStream’s ability to record multiple channels concurrently, regardless of video format, has given analysts a broader range of TV content to include in their analysis

The Results

SnapStream’s powerful television recording provides Sponsorship Science a reliable way to include live and archived television broadcasts in their analysis, and has improved effeciency in the following areas:

  • File Management: Analysts no longer have to sift through choppy four­-minute blocks of video. SnapStream makes it easier to find and analyze the broadcast’s content.
  • Digital Archiving: Analysts are able to review and include months of archived + current content in their research and offer detailed data to their clients.
  • Reliable Recording Hardware: With hot spare hard drives and power supplies that are both redundant and load­ balancing, SnapStream is a true enterprise-grade server that is custom built to withstand the rigors of 24/7 recording.
  • Flexible API: Sponsorship Science created a seamless workflow from SnapStream into their custom analysis software, ensuring easy adoption amongst analyst.

Sponsorship Science has seen a notable ROI and plans to add additional SnapStream tuners to their workflow.

About Sponsorship Science

Sponsorship Science leverages their strategic marketing expertise and deep analytics capabilities to maximize the impact of sponsorship. Sponsorship Science serves both sports properties and sponsoring corporations, assisting companies to develop new sponsorship opportunities, as well as optimize and enhance existing ones. They are not only a catalyst for making smarter sponsorship and activation choices, but are uniquely positioned to help clients understand the true impact of their investment.

About SnapStream

Based out of Houston, SnapStream has been making TV recording and analysis products for over a decade.

Apart from sponsorship research organizations, news research organizations like Pew Research, Media Research Center, Journalism schools like Emerson and Syracuse, internal research teams at NBC, ABC TV groups and hedge funds use SnapStream to record massive amounts of TV and then search through it all using closed captions and meta data.

SnapStream is also used by hundreds of others include The Daily Show, the US Senate, New York Times and Buzzfeed