21 Broadcast Groups Commit to Spot-TV Exchange

Electronic Order System Expected to Go Live by November

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Twenty-one different broadcast groups have committed to a new electronic exchange that is supposed to make the onerous task of buying and selling spot-TV ad time much easier, a sign that the industry is slowly working to modernize its systems after years of clinging to paper transactions.
The new spot-TV exchange is known as TVB ePort.
The new spot-TV exchange is known as TVB ePort.

The Television Bureau of Advertising said the first phase of the electronic-trading platform would launch in November, enabling buyers of spot TV to send orders for first-quarter 2008 electronically. Spot TV refers to advertising time on local TV stations and is often used heavily by political candidates, among others, who need to target a specific region rather than a national audience.

Who's onboard
Among the broadcast groups that have committed to the new exchange, known as TVB ePort, are Belo Corp., CBS Television Stations, Citadel Communications, E.W. Scripps Co., Emmis Communications, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst-Argyle Television, NBC Universal Television Stations, Post-Newsweek Stations and Tribune Co. Chicago-based Spot Buy Spot will build the exchange.

The TVB ePort was announced Feb. 21 and received an infusion of seed money from the National Association of Broadcasters. The remainder of the funding will come from broadcast groups and rep firms.

The paper process that drives the placement of TV advertising has frustrated media buyers for years. This new electronic transaction service is supposed to reduce the number of hours spent fixing problems with orders, thereby making it easier to buy local TV and goosing the flow of ad dollars.

Ad spending on spot TV fell 4.1% in the first quarter of 2007, to about $3.7 billion from about $3.9 billion, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
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