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Hot 100 – Technocrats, Manas Ranjan Mathi, Executive Director and Head of Technology, Walt Disney India

The airlines business model always intrigued Manas Ranjan Mathi, wherein they sell seats at different prices at different times. “Why is a last minute Mumbai-Delhi flight priced around INR 15000, and not INR 20,000 or INR 9,000?” he wondered. Because, he knew that at that price, people will buy it, but not if priced higher. And if priced at INR 9000, the airlines would be underselling themselves.

Mathi decided to apply this science to maximise the value of ad bookings, and devise an effective way to price ad inventory at Walt Disney India, last year. “We designed the rules on how to sell ads, the sales and distribution model to be adopted, how to prioritise customers, etc, and a ISB Hyderabad professor wrote the algorithm based on this data,” Mathi revealed.

Since the project was implemented in August 2015, it has reduced manual effort in ad booking because the algorithm has a preplotted schedule. “Few broadcasters have automated checks to see if the lowest rated orders are scheduled on prime time. With this scientific model in place, we could remove these inefficiencies and manual error,” Mathi proudly stated.

Since the program also circumvents issues like over-allocation of inventory at lower rates avoiding potential loss of money to the broadcaster, the project has met with a round of approval by the entire Walt Disney India team, even as Mathi is already pursuing other ways to leverage technology to better the operations at the network.

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