CARIA® : An unassuming hero

28th March 2019

By Dan Shawcross, Director of Client Services for Peach Media

 

We asked Dan Shawcross who is Director of Client Services for Peach Media to write a guest blog about CARIA which is funded by Clearcast for TV and BVoD bookings. Following the merger of IMD and Honeycomb to become Peach, sister company Optimad has become Peach Media.

 

It’s one of those funny things. You can see something everyday, and not really notice it.

 

There it is. CARIA. On people’s screens in pretty much every media agency, TV sales house and creative agency in the UK and Ireland.

 

It’s so ubiquitous and so familiar that it’s really not worthy of comment.

 

But hang on! Isn’t it…?

 

Three thousand people collaborating, sharing campaign data online, automating processes, dodging errors…it may be part of the furniture now, but things haven’t always been like this.

CARIA (standing for Campaign Approvals Rotation Instructions Attribution), started life as a linear TV booking module called ‘eCAP’ back in 2003. We moved a labour intensive booking workflow from email and faxes, to the web adding layers of security, standardisation, tracking, reliability and reporting along the way.

 

We then linked creative agencies and TV admin specialists to the bookings (excluding the sensitive financial data). This enabled them to plan and prioritise their upcoming work, avoiding those last minute nasty surprises, and to create and share copy instructions linked to bookings with media owners.

 

And hundreds of companies and thousands of people benefit every day.

 

This might sound simple, but the short description above encapsulates a seismic advance in automated workflow, 15 years of gold standard service and literally millions of managed communications between agencies and media owners.

 

A small step for media bookings led to a giant leap for the industry

 

That doesn’t mean we’ve stood still. Far from it.

 

Clearcast manages the CARIA contract, funding the system and overseeing developments in consultation with its shareholders and the wider industry.

 

Some of the key developments that have taken place are:

 

  • The service was rolled out in Ireland.
  • Cinema joined, in the guise of DCM, extending the platform’s AV ‘reach’ for buyers.
  • VoD platforms launched, and were added to CARIA, for both bookings and copy instructions.
  • Wherever we could we focused on automation to simplify workflows. For example, the introduction of the Clearcast “Agency Link” enabled CARIA campaign data to populate media agency campaign management systems, and is now used to great effect by many agencies with Mediaocean.
  • CARIA has been integrated with sales house systems at many leading TV sales houses, including ITV, Sky and Channel 4. This means less time spent on administration and fewer errors in setting up campaign. This benefits all involved, including, ultimately advertisers.

 

As Sky, who are mandating the sending of copy instructions via CARIA this summer** says

 

“…. more and more companies are embracing automation in many of their workflows. We have found that automation is more accurate, more reliable and frees up employees in order for them to dedicate more time dealing with complicated issues that in turn gives a better service to our customers.”

 

The video landscape is evolving, becoming more diverse and more exciting, in particular for viewers. But beneath the covers, and counter-intuitively, many processes underpinning digital media and advanced TV advertising including BVoD remain manual, and time-consuming, and carry risk.

 

At Peach Media, we are addressing that issue by automating as many processes as possible to enable these new advertising technologies.

 

This means enhancements to CARIA too. It already handles bookings and copy rotations for BVoD, and this week we will start a pilot for VoD Tag management. This will enable buyers to share ‘click-thru’ and impression Tags with media owners, linking them to bookings and copy instructions. With these vital campaign elements linked in a central system, the final step of putting VoD campaigns live will be made easier, more efficient and in the end, faster.

 

As Chris Mundy, Clearcast’s MD says

 

“Peach Media is a key, trusted industry partner for us; the systems and services we contract and run with them fundamentally underpin essential industry workflows. As the industry evolves we’re working with our stakeholders and Peach Media to extend these further into the non-linear digital area.”

 

If you’d like to learn more about CARIA, or about the tools the Peach Media team are building to enable the industry to develop, get in touch with us at hello@peachmedia.com.

 

**be prepared for this change: screen-share training is available from Peach Media’s support desk. Please contact us to book.