VCI adds predictive analysis to increase profitability


At last week’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, VCI Solutions was demonstrating the new Orion Discovery. While it is an extension of its legacy television business and traffic system, the real kicker in the new software is its predictive analytics.

We got to see various “dashboards” for users of the new system. For managers, not only does the screen show how sales are tracking against past numbers, but the predictive analytics also shows how the month is likely to finish at current pacings. So, if you’re heading toward a sell-out in a certain time period – something stations are thankfully beginning to have to be concerned about in this recovery year – you can adjust rates upward to avoid being oversold and maximize profits.

Produce Manager Fay Stone also demonstrated how the database can be configured to deliver a message or report to a target executive to keep them updated regularly on where things stand. Such reports have typically required human compilation, so automating them eliminates some low value tasks by staffers.

For the salesperson, their dashboard shows such things as what make-goods they have to deal with, scheduled spots which have not yet been received for airing and over-due collections. The salesperson also has complex predictive analytics on their screen to show not only how they are performing against target today, but where they are expected to finish each month based on current sales and their past track record.

We found the predictive analytics to pretty impressive, since sales pacings look so lean on a chart early in a month (or even before you’re actually into that month on the calendar), but the projected sales line – whether for an individual or for the entire sales team – gives you an early handle on just what the pacings mean so adjustments can be made. To be sure, many experienced sales managers already have that analytical skill within, but having the software do the math based on real numbers from the past provides visual proof on the screen.

While we thought the analytics were really cool, broadcasters are also drawn to the automation of reports and analysis that until now had consumed staff time.

“Based on what we’re seeing from folks already is that the time savings will make work more effective and dramatically increase the profitability of the facility,” said Jamie Meyer, Vice President of Product Development for VCI Solutions.