French state TV networks to sell ad slots on Internet

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PARIS--France Television Publicite (FTP), the advertising division of the public networks France 2 and France 3, will start to sell its advertising slots by auction through a Web site (mediaexchange.fr.) from Nov. 15.

FTP will initially offer 5% of its slots this year and 10% until the end of 2000.

Sales by auction will give big advertisers less of an advantage thantraditional sales methods, according to Philippe Santini, general manager of FTP. "It will help the free flow of the market."

Media buying companies would take part in the auction without knowingcompetitors' offers. The agencies would be allowed to re-auction their slots up to seven days before the broadcasting. "Usually, advertisers can't change anything five weeks before broadcasting," says Mr. Santini.

He adds: "We've already tried that kind of sale before the Parmearseille soccer match, and the results were conclusive. There wasn't an increase in prices; the behavior of the media companies was rational."

Gerard Noel, VP of French advertisers' union UDA, says: "With the launch of the Web site, the system would become widespread. We believe that selling by auction should (lead to) more openness."

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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