Tue Sep, 2018·7 min read

The planning & sequencing of commercial breaks

It is a business wrapped up in a mystique and with a language all of its own – and one where skills and experience are highly valued. For this major UK media channel, sequencing of commercial breaks provided a logical starting point for the use of Intelligent Automation (IA) technology

Media

During the day, the channels strength is targeting the stay at home parent/partner whilst in the evenings audience research has identified the channel’s strength lies in its ability to target cluster groups. As a result the sequencing of commercials within each break started to present something of a headache as advertisers seeked to buy audience, not airtime. 

It became a complex trading commodity, complicated further as the selling of this volatile medium only closed half a day in advance of transmission time, at which point the breaks need to be sequenced.

The whole area cried out for advanced software technologies – instead of simply managing breaks, we are now able to find better options for the use of airtime

Solution

Conventional programming could not cope with the constant additions and changes so a solution was developed which involved downloading data from an airtime sales system and passing an unordered list of spots in a commercial break to Xpert Rule which used genetic algorithm optimisation to ensure that all factors are complied with before passing back an ordered list of spots to the airtime sales system.

Benefits

Increased productivity 

"This system takes over much of the drudgery involved in break sequencing"

Increased efficiency 

"4 people used to be wholly committed to sequencing work, whereas now it only requires 1 or 2"

Increase in employee satisfaction 

"It is an important motivation as the work is now manageable"

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