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Turner Broadcasting System wins 2017 IAAA

2017 Committee Chair Scott Grasman

The Innovative Applications in Analytics Award (IAAA), sponsored by Caterpillar and the INFORMS Analytics Society, recognizes creative and unique applications of analytical techniques. As stated on the award website, the prize “promotes the awareness and value of the creative combination of analytics techniques in unusual applications to provide insights and business value.” To win the award, implementations must integrate theoretical advances and innovative applications in order to create value.

Finalists presented their work at the 2017 INFORMS Analytics Conference to the judging committee chaired by Scott Grasman from Rochester Institute of Technology, along with a special presentation by Tori Rollings on Caterpillar’s Assurance of Supply Center.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. won this year’s IAAA for its presentation of “Audience Targeting Solutions Powered by Advanced Analytics.” The winning team included Wes Chaar, José Antonio Carbajal and Peter Williams. An encore presentation will be made at the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston.

For decades, television advertisement deals had been guaranteed using only primary demographic metrics specified by age and gender. In the last few years, data fusion has allowed viewership data to be fused with frequent shopper card data, credit card data or even custom surveys to construct targeted TV audience segments such as “cereal buyers” or “auto intenders.” These new, more granular audience segments have challenged traditional ways of forecasting, scheduling and managing inventory in the media industry. Through advanced analytics, Turner has taken the lead in offering targeted ad products that better address the needs of our advertiser and agency partners.
Turner has developed two core audience targeting solutions: TargetingNOW and AudienceNOW. TargetingNOW takes an existing advertising deal, which is still guaranteed on demographic viewership and maintains its original media mix, and optimizes its spot placements to increase the delivery of a secondary targeted segment.
AudienceNOW relaxes many, but not all, of the traditional mix constraints to produce fully optimized deals and spot placements that maximize targeted audience delivery across the entire portfolio of Turner’s networks.

A suite of advanced analytics tools power these targeting solutions. On the descriptive side, analysis and visualization tools present detailed historical or predictive information for particular segments and allow comparison of Turner networks against competitors. On the predictive side, a scalable, accurate and data-agnostic forecasting approach called Competitive Audience Estimation can build granular estimates for virtually any audience segment. Finally, on the prescriptive side, large-scale, mixed-integer-programming models optimize deal composition and spot placements.

Second prize was awarded to Valentina Ferretti from the London School of Economics and Political Science for her work on “How to Regenerate Disused Railways? An Integrated Analytics Approach.”

Inactive railway lines and disused station buildings constitute an increasingly important heritage asset and are thus becoming the focus of regeneration processes worldwide. However, the decision of what to do to reuse abandoned railways represents a complex decision-making problem involving heterogeneous impacts and multiple stakeholders leading to conflicting objectives. Such a context calls for the use of analytics able to support transparent, replicable and justifiable processes/results.

This project proposes a combination of different analytics to effectively support collaborative decision-making processes where a decision must be made among competing options. In particular, the study developed and tested an integrated analytical approach by combining:

• preference elicitation analytics with visualization analytics in the descriptive phase of the process;
• sensitivity analysis with visualization analytics in the predictive phase of the process; and
• prescriptive decision analysis with facilitated modelling throughout the whole process.

The proposed framework has been tested on a real case study dealing with transportation systems’ planning in Northern Italy, where several passenger railway lines have recently been abandoned and replaced by bus services.
The main objective of the study was to investigate which role integrated decision analytics can play to support heterogeneous impacts’ aggregation in territorial planning by discussing the operability, the applicability and the transparency of the developed methodological framework.

The contribution brought by the study is twofold and refers to: 1) improved operability of the proposed tools obtained by combining visualization analytics with consolidated preference elicitation protocols for assessing multiple impacts, and 2) the provision of a replicable working tool for policymakers.

The Analytics Society leadership would like to congratulate all finalists and cordially thank the judging committee for their hard work.

Implementations that span applications of descriptive, predictive or prescriptive analytics, as well as data creation, collection and dissemination that support or enable novel analytical methods, can be submitted for the 2018 Innovative Applications in Analytics Award.

Applicants must submit a 500 to 1,000-word summary by Sept. 1, 2017 to Committee Chair Juan R. Jaramillo (jaramijr@farmingdale.edu). Semifinalists will be notified by Sept. 30, 2016, and finalists will be notified by Dec. 9, 2017. Finalist presentations will take place at the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Baltimore on April 15-17, 2018. The winner will present at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix on Nov. 4-7, 2018.

For more details see the award website or contact the committee chair.

Scott Grasman, chair of the 2017 IAAA Committee

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