Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

4-2016

Abstract

In live broadcasting, the break lengths available for commercials are not always fixed and known in advance (e.g., strategic and injury time-outs are of variable duration in live sports transmissions). Broadcasters actively manage their advertising revenue by jointly optimizing sales and scheduling policies. We characterize the optimal dynamic schedule in a simplified setting that incorporates stochastic break durations and advertisement lengths of 15 and 30 seconds. The optimal policy is a "greedy" look-ahead rule that accounts for the remaining number of breaks; in this setting, there is no value to perfect information at the scheduling stage, and hence knowing the duration of all breaks would not change the schedule. We present heuristics to help solve scheduling problems of even greater complexity. The performance of these heuristics under various scenarios is tested by running simulations calibrated using industry data. The simple greedy heuristic is shown to perform well except when revenues are concave in ad length, in which case the look-ahead aspect of the optimal schedule becomes more important. Finally, we recommend ways for broadcasters to balance their portfolio of booked ads by determining the optimal overbooking level and mix of ads as a function of their associated revenues generated and penalties incurred.

Keywords

live broadcasting, advertising, scheduling, random capacity

Discipline

Advertising and Promotion Management | Operations and Supply Chain Management

Research Areas

Operations Management

Publication

Management Science

Volume

62

Issue

4

First Page

1145

Last Page

1164

ISSN

0025-1909

Identifier

10.1287/mnsc.2015.2185

Publisher

INFORMS

Embargo Period

6-6-2017

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2015.2185

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