andrea figler When it comes to advertising, you can’t get much more local than a garage sale or a wedding announcement, or by putting your home or used car on the market. Advertisements like these are so targeted and so consumer-focused that you’ll probably only find them in your local newspaper or, every once in awhile, on your local cable system. The VP of advertising sales for Buckeye CableSystem in Toledo, Ohio, hopes to change that. Steve Piller’s plan is to grow cable’s share of the classified ad market by enabling consumers to put their still-photo ads on the top half of the system’s program lineup channel. To help with this sales effort, Piller commercially launched a website ( last week on which consumers select from several basic formats, enter their personal information, upload a photo if desired, select scheduled air times and pay via a credit card. The still-photo ads then appear as scheduled on Buckeye’s program guide channel. Piller says the website was designed for consumers who want to sell anything — from lawn mowers to their old car. They can even buy an ad wishing a happy anniversary to mom and dad. He may be onto something. While cable systems have historically landed real estate and automobile classified advertisements, they’ve typically been purchased by businesses — local realtors and car dealerships, for example. Steve Litwer, VP of sales development for Mediacom’s advertising arm, says he’s never heard of anything like it. “It’s a great idea,” he says. “Most of us are selling to businesses. This guy [Piller] has found a way to sell anything from anybody. You can sell a motorcycle, a computer … It’s like eBay. What do you want to sell? An old pair of underwear?” It’s unlikely that anybody in the Buckeye system is going to see their neighbor’s underwear on-screen: Piller and his cohorts have to approve each ad before it goes on television. Nevertheless, the range of products is diverse. Piller wants to initially attract advertisements for real estate, employment, general merchandise and repair services, as well as personal announcements. The cost is hardly prohibitive. The daily rate for five spots is $15; the rate for ten is $27.75. As the weekly rate, five ads per day or 35 per week cost $61.25, and ten per day or 70 per week cost $98. While these ads are cheap and may not serve as a huge boon to the system, they do not require much manpower, says Kevin Barry, VP of local sales and marketing for the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau. “Everyone who puts in a $5 ad, that’s $5 in the bucket,” he says. “This kind of attitude, this kind of approach, can really help a system build up a new revenue stream.” To promote the service, Piller has partnered with a radio station to draw more viewers to the program guide channel and, subsequently, more advertisers. “It’s a consumer product,” he says of the classified market he’s trying to tap. “I remember when I had to run an employment ad in the newspaper and it cost me $200 for three days…That’s kind of where I connected with this idea. I thought, wow, I could be all over TV for $60 to $90.”

The Daily


Fox Philly License Limbo

Pennsylvania Senators John Fetterman and Bob Casey are urging the FCC to act swiftly to conclude its review of Philadelphia station WTXF. This broadcast station, owned by Fox Corp. , is the subject of a Media

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