BUYING SERVICE IS WEB-BOUND

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Time Buying Services next month becomes the first media-buying company to open a home page on the World Wide Web.

While numerous full-service and interactive advertising agencies have taken to the Internet, the move by a media-buying service is unusual. TBS won't be using the online medium to showcase an advertising portfolio or creative strategies, but instead as a means of facilitating business-to-business communications for an extremely niche audience: Its current roster of clients.

In other words, TBS (http://www.timebuying.com) is using a medium accessible to millions to reach a few hundred people.

"It's not designed to market the company. It's designed for customer support," said Anne Benvenuto, senior VP-director of media services at New York-based TBS.

The home page features hot buttons for four primary areas: "About TBS," the company's credentials; "Post Office," an area for communicating electronically with clients and vendors; "News Room," a compilation of articles and industry updates; and "Media Library."

The last area will perhaps have the widest appeal for the ad industry, since it will provide links to data from leading media research providers, including Arbitron and Nielsen. Arbitron NewMedia is providing the TBS site with exclusive access to portions of its Pathfinder study, while Nielsen Media Research is providing data from its Home Technology Report.

The TBS Web site is one element in an overall program the company is rolling out under the banner of Electronic Enterprise Solutions, a range of new electronic communications services designed to facilitate client service.

TBS will also give clients direct access to its proprietary media planning and modeling systems.

"We're taking our own intellectual properties, which we create for our own business-to-business communications purposes, and we're putting it up in a way that is more accessible for our clients," said Ms. Benvenuto.

Despite the Web's global reach, she said TBS is not looking to attract stray surfers or new-business prospects. In fact, the company couldn't handle a busy traffic flow even if it turned out to be a hot site for a general audience, an unlikely prospect.

"As long as it's not more than 22,000 hits per day we're happy. That's all the capacity we can handle right now," Ms. Benvenuto said.

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