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.