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The TV industry is getting one of the most important tools advertisers and agencies use to develop media strategies: competitive "spending" data.

Competitive Media Reporting, the ad industry's primary source for competitive ad spending estimates, next week unveils PromoWatch, which will do the same thing for promotional spots.

The service will be introduced at the TV industry's annual Promax show in New Orleans June 8 to 11 and will use CMR's MediaWatch, a computerized system that tracks commercials, public service announcements and promos.

Using signal queues unique to TV spots, MediaWatch automatically identifies new spots and digitally stores them in a database. MediaWatch, which tracks such TV activity in the top 75 markets and for national broadcast and cable TV networks, is used by 300 broadcast and cable outlets, as well as most U.S. ad agencies.

"We've always collected the promo data ... but we've never done anything with it," said Jane Smerglia, VP-broadcast of CMR.

Ms. Smerglia said TV stations are most likely to be the first subscribers to PromoWatch. But broadcast and cable TV networks also are likely to use the data to learn what their competitors are up to.

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