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CAB Pulls Out of eBay Online Media Exchange Trial

Apr 5, 2007  •  Post A Comment

A coalition of top TV advertisers and eBay are promising to push ahead on developing an electronic system for auctioning TV ads despite the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s withdrawal from the system before its first trial.

CAB announced its pullout on Thursday, citing technology problems in the system’s design.

“It became apparent that the Media Exchange was too narrow an application, had clear connectivity issues … and lacked the provisions necessary to capturing strategic and idea-driven intelligence during a buy,” Sean Cunningham, CAB’s president-CEO, said in a statement. He also pointed to some media buyers’ unwillingness to use the system being developed.

In an interview, he suggested the design showed “outsiders trying to make an insider’s product,” incorporating “minimal ability to capture the vast majority of the reasons, rationale, insights and nuances of how all buyers are made.”

The coalition of advertisers, which includes Microsoft, Intel, Home Depot and Daimler Chrysler, expressed surprise at the CAB action, in part because the system was just about to undergo an early pilot test at two cable networks that would not have resulted in any ad dollars changing hands.

“We selected national cable for the pilot because they have a history of embracing new industry initiatives,” the coalition said in a statement. “We are surprised at the CAB’s unwillingness to continue the dialogue on this topic.

“It is evident that this is a very active marketplace, and the idea of media exchanges is gaining momentum.”

The group said it will continue to push forward.

“We are still bullish about the system that has been produced. We will continue to pursue cable networks and are confident that the eMedia exchange will have traction with cable and other media,” the statement said.

EBay also expressed astonishment at the CAB decision.

“We were quite surprised and disappointed,” said Brad Williams, VP of communications for eBay Inc. “The media marketplace will go forward.”

He said that while the first test will now be delayed, both eBay and the steering committee continue to see strong interest in the system.

“We view this as a speed bump. The steering committee is bigger than cable TV,” he said.

The coalition’s test is one of several competing technologies to auction TV ad time electronically. A week ago Google launched its auction-based TV ad sales system in partnership with EchoStar.

Abbey Klaassen and Andrew Hamp of sister publication Advertising Age contributed to this story.