Media Broadcast/Freenet TV Case Study

Implementation of Comarch Smart BSS

Freenet TV is a new service provided by Media Broadcast, a member of the freenet Group and Germany’s largest service provider for the broadcast and media industry. The company’s core business includes the planning, set-up and operation of multimedia transmission platforms for television and radio on a national and global basis, using modern transmitter, fiber and satellite networks. The focus is on terrestrial transmitter networks, and with more than 2 000 transmitters for FM, DAB+ and DVB-T the company is the market leader in Germany. freenet TV shows a new dimension of television which is available anytime and anywhere combining the best picture quality and all top programs at the best price.

Media Broadcast serves around 750 national and international customers, including public and commercial broadcasters, TV and radio production companies, cable network operators, media authorities, private enterprises and public institutions.The company has its headquarters in Cologne and operates several offices throughout Germany.

The Challenge

freenet TV was launched in May 2016, introducing a new digital terrestrial TV service in Germany. The service is provided by Media Broadcast, the largest service provider for the broadcast and media industry in Germany, acquired in 2016 by freenet, a German mobile communications company.

Media Broadcast delivers FM, DAB+ and DVB-T content to the majority of German households via more than 2000 transmitters. The core business of the company is built around planning, setting up and operating multimedia transmission platforms for television and radio, on a national and global basis.

Media Broadcast has just introduced a new DVB-T2 / HEVC standard, which will allow the launch of a brand new terrestrial TV service. DVB-T2 HD, the technical successor to the DVB-T standard, ensures increased capacity, is better suited for HDTV services, and can use existing TV reception antennas.

The implementation of a brand new service based on the new DVB-T2 / HEVC standard will allow Media Broadcast to deploy a new business to consumer (B2C) revenue stream, thanks to enabling new paid, coded and digital TV offers on the German market. Customers will be able to access premium content thanks to CI+ (also known as CI Plus or Common Interface Plus) cards and decoders, distributed by a network of resellers and a web shop application.

The new Comarch BSS system provides strong support for introducing the new business and optimizing Media Broadcast’s operational costs.

The major challenges of the project were integration with third-party systems and cooperation with the partners providing other components. No less challenging was the short time-frame for delivering the first two phases of the project.

The Approach

The major aim of the project was to implement and integrate the BSS system for Media Broadcast. Comarch proposed its Smart BSS as a complete pre-integrated system that enables the broadcaster to manage all freenet TV brand-related business processes comprehensively. This includes request to answer, order to payment, usage to payment, request to change, termination to confirmation and problem or complaint to solution processes. Comarch Smart BSS supports the company in introducing new services based on the DVB-T2 technology quickly and efficiently, and ensures effective management of all BSS processes. That translates not only into improvement of BSS processes, but also into lower operational costs and increased user satisfaction.

Comarch Smart BSS is delivered in private cloud, with equipment and system platform deployed in the Comarch data center in Dresden as the production environment, and in a backup location in another Comarch data center in Krakow (together with the disaster recovery center option), where the data are replicated securely from the primary center. 

The scope of the private cloud service includes the administration of the hardware platform, operating system (with backup) and database, as well as monitoring and helpdesk services, and a spare data center site (disaster recovery center) with asynchronous data replication.

The contract was signed in 2015. Considering the complexity of the deployment, the project was divided into three phases. The first phase (concluded at the end of 2015) and second phase (implemented in July 2016) had very ambitious delivery times. Implementation of the new system was completed, although cooperation continues as the third phase of the project is still in progress.

The Implemented Product

Comarch Smart BSS is a top quality COTS (commercial off the shelf) system for multi-technology and multinetwork providers, built from out of the box products. The system allows easy integration with any kind of third-party systems, while at the same time enabling extensive configuration options. Comarch Smart BSS supports the efficient management of all key processes at Media Broadcast, offering a high degree of flexibility for changes, which makes the solution future proof.

The system combines six main modules:

  • CRM for managing data related to clients and partners, and for helping customer service representatives to build unique and personalized customer relations. The module creates 360-degree customer views including personal data, customer preferences, and all reports, processes and system activities related to the customer;
  • WebShop API collecting, validating and configuring customer orders;
  • Billing, Charging and Invoicing of any type of service. Offline payments are supported by the Smart BSS system, and online payments by a third-party web shop application;
  • Voucher Management built to support the generation and management of e-vouchers;
  • Product Catalog defines basic, individual products, as well as complex product bundles, allowing the creation of various product types, offers and specifications;
  • Service Activation enabling fast deployment and provisioning of convergent services.

The Results

Comarch Smart BSS enabled Media Broadcast to launch and deliver new paid TV services (under the brand name freenet TV), based on DVB-T2, quickly and efficiently. The implemented system streamlined all BSS processes and ensured high quality support, maintenance, software and cloud services.

The aim of the project was to provide a high-quality COTS IT system, support, maintenance services and cloud services, to enable Media Broadcast to manage their BSS processes efficiently.

The implemented system was integrated with Media Broadcast legacy IT systems such as IRDETO’s CAS (Conditional Access System), Call Center system, IVR (Interactive Voice Response), and General Ledger. Interfaces to partner’s systems were also implemented, including voucher partner and logistic/fulfillment partner interfaces, as well as bank payment interfaces based on SEPA Direct Debit (Single Euro Payments Area Direct Debit).

Using one single platform for many different purposes such as charging, billing, CRM and product catalog, as well as the automation and acceleration of data processing, significantly optimized operational costs. Additionally, the implemented product ensures an attractive TCO (total cost of ownership).

Why Comarch?

"We chose Comarch as partner to support us in delivering the ultimate DVB-T2 service, due to the company’s broad experience in similar projects supported by references from cable TV providers and broadcasters from all over the world. The implemented solution - Comarch Smart BSS - enabled us to manage BSS processes more efficiently, and to reach our goals in terms of quickly introducing new paid TV services onto the market. We are very pleased to implement a BSS system which at the same time is easy to integrate with third-party tools and ensures a wide spectrum of functions."

Henk van Es, Head of Technical Operations
freenet TV

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