Solutions

In the Public Interest

WGBH

Enlightening, educational, and entertaining. But like its commercial sister, public television doesn't just happen. At WGBH in Boston, production of some of public TV's favorite programs requires talent, energy, commitment — and money. And helping to keep key elements in that equation organized, you'll find FileMaker Pro, the award–winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Overview

  • Filling vital behind–the–scenes roles at one of America's leading public television station, FileMaker Pro keeps data well organized at WGBH Boston.

Industry

  • Entertainment
  • Creative Services
  • Non–Profit

In 20 hours my team of developers and I built a prototype on spec in FileMaker Pro which was received with overwhelming enthusiasm, and the database project was approved.

— Dave Varon, Software Development Director, WGBH Educational Foundation

Business Challenge

Since its beginnings in 1955, WGBH has played a vital role in the evolution of noncommercial television in the United States, as America's preeminent public broadcasting producer. WGBH is the source of nearly one–third of PBS's prime–time lineup including ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre, Nova, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Arthur, and Zoom. While WGBH doesn't interrupt its programming for commercials, that doesn't mean there isn't an important role for corporate sponsors. The costs of production for these and other programs are underwritten by a wide range of public–spirited corporations, and FileMaker Pro is a vital tool in bringing both underwriters and programs together.

Back in 1997 PBS formed the National Sponsorship Group, the national salesgroup for most PBS programs. It involves several PBS affiliates including WGBH and its creation meant that different stations using different data–management technologies suddenly needed a way to exchange information efficiently and effectively. "Collaboration of the sales effort vastly increased opportunity by extending each team's network of business contacts to every other team," explains WGBH Software Development Director Dave Varon. "And the Sponsorship Group database had to be accessible anywhere in the country. The group had originally deployed an ACT! contact management system to facilitate collaboration and centralization, and a tremendous amount of time was spent by third–party consultants trying to customize the software —– but the consultants failed."

Successful Solution

Enter FileMaker Pro.

"In 20 hours," explains Dave, "my team of developers and I built a prototype on spec in FileMaker Pro which was received with overwhelming enthusiasm, and the database project was approved. Hosted and supported in Boston, and accessed through a Citrix 'thin' client, it provides a central location, for every member of every team across the country to log in every sales call, fax, meeting, and email. It's a central repository for all sales contact information at all corporations relevant to the Sponsorship effort. Corporations can be targeted, products can be flagged as high priorities, reports can be generated and printed in PDF format. It provides a means of assessment and sales management and even supports post–sale relationship management with existing underwriters — a feature which dovetails nicely with strategy efforts."

FileMaker Pro has provided a flexible, cost–effective platform for rapid deployment of a variety of solutions to a broad range of business problems.

— Dave Varon, Software Development Director, WGBH Educational Foundation

Customer Benefits

Dave's system was introduced five years ago, fast becoming an indispensable tool for participating stations. And it's just one of many uses for FileMaker Pro at WGBH where the software is utilized for everything from program production to video archiving to contract management. Over one hundred workgroups use FileMaker Pro at WGBH, with hundreds of databases, the largest of which contains more than 200,000 individual records. As Dave sums it up, "FileMaker Pro has provided a flexible, cost–effective platform for rapid deployment of a variety of solutions to a broad range of business problems."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For WGBH Educational Foundation:

Dave Varon
Software Development Director
WGBH Educational Foundation
617-300-2000
dave_varon@wgbh.org
http://www.wgbh.org