Hearst and DMA Announce Winner of First Annual Hearst Challenge
(Press Release) NEW YORK, DECEMBER 15, 2010—Hearst Magazines and the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Analytics Council today announced the winner of the Hearst Challenge, a competition to build a model that better predicts a magazine's sell-through rate, or the percentage of copies distributed to newsstands that end up being sold. The winning team, A3 from the United States, consisting of Aleksey Fadeev, Ph.D., Aleksey Ashikhmin, Ph.D. and Arthur Abdulin, was awarded $25,000. The announcement was made from the 2010 NCDM Conference in Miami, Fla.
More than 700 teams from nearly 60 countries entered the 2010 Hearst Challenge analytics competition. Kicked off in October of this year, the Hearst Challenge made available a historical sample of newsstand data from 10 publications and 10,000 stores to all registered teams. Participants were tasked with creating an analytical framework that could predict the "response" of various newsstand locations and optimize the overall contribution of each newsstand. The top three teams, including the winners and teams from United States and China, presented their solutions at the NCDM Conference. The winner was chosen for having the smallest root mean square error (RMSE), or difference between the values predicted by their model and actual newsstand figures.
"We were blown away by the overwhelming interest in this contest as well as by the caliber of the entries," said Charlie Swift, vice president, database strategy and marketing, Hearst Magazines. "This year's winners achieved a true breakthrough in using analytic modeling to help predict newsstand performance; we extend our congratulations to the entire team. This contest has proven so successful, we are planning on bringing the Hearst Challenge back next year with a new business puzzle to solve."
"We were thrilled to co-sponsor this challenge with Hearst and we couldn't be happier with both the level of participation and the amazing work presented by our finalists," said Lisa Merizio Smith, director, Segment Services, DMA.