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Emmy Award Brings Long-Overdue Recognition to Ad Tech Pioneers

Imagine Communications Receives 2015 Emmy® Award for Technology and Engineering

2016 Emmmy Awards Ceremony
Imagine Communications’ Terry Grinewich (far left) and Bridget Allen with ad management pioneer George Beattie at Emmy Awards ceremony

Sometimes it takes a while for recognition to catch up with achievement.

More than three centuries went by before William Shakespeare was given a writing credit for a 17th century play long attributed to another playwright. Scientist Peter Higgs waited nearly 50 years after speculating on the existence of an unidentified particle to pick up his Nobel Prize in Physics.

A similar state of delayed recognition has been the fate of George Beattie and Jack Finlayson, two pioneers in the ad tech industry responsible for the foundational technology that powers today’s advanced and fully automated advertising sales and traffic systems. That singular contribution to the broadcasting industry, made more than 50 years ago, was finally recognized last week. That’s when the Technology and Engineering Achievement Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Imagine Communications an Emmy® for Pioneering Optimization of Advertising Placement in Single Channel Linear Television Programs.

Foundational Technology

Around the same time Higgs was prodding the universe for his elusive boson, Beattie and Finlayson were figuring out how computers, then a relatively new automation tool, could be used to streamline broadcast business operations. Today, thousands of television and radio stations, as well as content distributors and aggregators, are running automated business process systems that are based on the spot placement algorithm and related procedures developed by Beattie and Finlayson. The technology originally relied on mainframe and minicomputers, as well as keypunch card systems, to help automate and simplify what had previously been a manual and error-plagued procedure.

This revolutionary technology — the first successful application of computerized automation of business processes within a broadcast operation — remains relevant today and underpins the innovation behind Imagine Communications’ industry-leading ad management solutions.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this contribution. This revolutionary technology — the first successful application of computerized automation of business processes within a broadcast operation — remains relevant today and underpins the innovation behind Imagine Communications’ industry-leading ad management solutions. The award-winning Landmark family of solutions is focused on providing broadcasters and media companies with the tools needed to optimize and automate the monetization of ad inventory.

It turns out that the 1960s were an especially fertile time for technology breakthroughs that have maintained their relevance into the present. In addition to continued advancements in computer technology, the decade saw the deployment of the first commercial satellite, light-emitting diode (LED) technology and direct dialing. The predecessor to what eventually became the Internet was also introduced in the 1960s.

Similar to these other achievement, the contributions of Beattie and Finlayson were in no way ephemeral. The technology they developed was instrumental in the evolution of Imagine Communications’ current and cutting-edge ad management solutions, forming a contiguous bridge of innovation that now spans more than five decades. 

Continuous Innovation

Imagine Communications CEO Charlie Vogt talked about both the historic and current significance of the recently honored technology. “This achievement not only speaks to our rich legacy in the broadcast industry but validates the positive and enthusiastic reception our next-generation advertising technology is receiving from customers today.  The media and entertainment industry is rapidly evolving and now, more than ever, requires technology partners that provide transformational innovation that is guided and informed by a long and distinguished heritage in the broadcast industry.”    

George Beattie, now in his 80s, was on hand at last week’s awards ceremony to receive his long-overdue recognition. Jack Finlayson, who passed away in 1991, was represented by his daughters Bridget Allen and Terry Grinewich.

Following in their father’s footsteps, both Bridget and Terry, longtime Imagine Communications’ employees, are top professionals in today’s ad management technology marketplace.

Delayed recognition, even when it spans a generation, is often the most gratifying.

 

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