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TelevisionWeek is teaming up with TV industry veteran Marianne Paskowski. The blog will give Marianne a forum to convey her deep knowledge of the industry and pass along some of the juicy morsels she's hearing on the grapevine. Marianne has covered the TV industry from the inside out and top to bottom, and TVWeek's readers are bound to benefit from her sharp eyes, ears and wit. TVWeek.com invites readers to jump online, chime in and pick Marianne's brain on the latest industry news.

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Marianne Paskowski



Can the eBay Model Work for TV Ads?

August 4, 2006 5:09 PM

I don’t know why sellers of TV time—both broadcast and cable—are so squeamish about a proposal that a handful of national advertisers and their agencies have crafted with eBay to sell avails online.

The group of advertisers, working with eBay and using its technology, would create an online auction site called e-Media Exchange, according to published reports.

Understandably, sellers want to call the shots and don’t want to see the upfront ad arena vanish. After all, it’s a dandy way to unload 70 percent of their inventory in a matter of weeks. But e-Media Exchange sounds like it will start out small—quite small actually—working primarily with cable networks that have scatter units to sell in the wee hours of the morning or late at night.

If e-Media Exchange is set up any way like eBay is, sellers have absolutely nothing to fear. For eBay is commerce at its best. Take it from me: I have more than 400 stars on eBay as a buyer and seller. The seller sets the price, and potential buyers either bid or don’t. And if a seller gets lucky, and many do, bidding wars erupt.

In other words, e-Media Exchange could be a win-win for everyone. EBay’s technology is a work of art. Its tracking system is ingenious and has created a self-policing community where sellers and buyers keep everyone honest. Now the big question is: Will sellers of TV time agree to participate? If not, this is a missed opportunity for all.

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Comments (2)

Scott:

While I do think this will sell more ad time, most people fear change... especially when you move sales from lunch and the golf course to an efficient market. The beauty of an efficient and transparent market is the buyer no longer fears over paying... and thus should buy more. While Google trying to sell ads in magazines didn't and logically shouldn't work - since you can just ad more pages... there is limited (even though there's lots of it) inventory on TV... so this should work and when it does more players will participate.

Marianne Paskowski:

Scott totally gets this. The problem is only this: there won't be any auction if the sellers decide to sit out. There will be nothing to bid for online.

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