Cable Backs EBay TV-Auction System

CAB Urges Nets to Enter Trial of Exchange Pushed by Wal-Mart-Led Group

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Lured by the $50 million carrot dangled by a Wal-Mart-led group of powerhouse marketers, the cable industry is lining up behind the controversial trading system using eBay to buy TV time -- and a total of 118 advertisers have signaled their interest.
Companies interested in participating in the auction can sign up at admarketpilot.com, a site established by eBay. In all, 118 advertisers have indicated they want more information about the media exchange.
Companies interested in participating in the auction can sign up at admarketpilot.com, a site established by eBay. In all, 118 advertisers have indicated they want more information about the media exchange.

Prototype
The idea of an online media exchange -- first floated in March 2005 by Wal-Mart Senior VP-Marketing Communications Julie Roehm at her former post at Chrysler Group -- is leaping from concept to reality thanks to eBay's help in building a prototype. A demonstration is being readied for next month, and the real thing is set to go live in the first quarter of 2007.

The trading system was cited as a promising productivity initiative at the Association of National Advertisers meeting by the organization's president-CEO, Robert Liodice. All it needs now is the commitment of a few media partners-and it looks like cable will lead the way.

According to a letter obtained by Advertising Age, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau is urging its members to get involved. The CAB wrote to numerous ad-sales presidents recommending they "consider their possible inclusion into this test." Both Ms. Roehm and CAB referred calls for comment to Patty Kerr, director-corporate communications, Magna Global, who is handling public relations for the project. Ms. Kerr didn't return calls for comment.

Admarketpilot.com
Companies interested in participating can sign up at admarketpilot.com, a site established by eBay. In all, 118 advertisers have indicated they want more information about the media exchange.

On Sept. 7, eBay hosted a meeting at its San Jose, Calif., headquarters to update partners on its progress. About 20 people attended, including executives from cable networks Discovery and Turner Broadcasting, along with Fox network President-Ad Sales Jon Nesvig. All have shown a willingness to learn how the system would work, though none have committed yet.

Two mechanisms
EBay is developing two trading mechanisms that will serve both buyer and seller. The first is a "buyer-driven format" that can be used to solicit offers from sellers on pitch requests from identified advertisers with specific budgets. A marketer can set a beginning and end date for the trade, much like an eBay seller would. It can also restrict the number of potential sellers to avoid drawing, say, 60 cable networks to a pitch that might only be appropriate for a few.

The identities of the bidders on the marketer's budget would be known only by the marketer. The accepted bid would be posted so each bidder could see what the final price was.

A second format being discussed is one driven by the sellers. The available inventory would be posted and buyers would bid on the package.
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