Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, today said his organization’s cable network members won’t participate in the eBay Online Media Exchange.
After CAB complained last month its members weren’t invited to take a kick at the proposed auction-based sales system, CAB members including Discovery Networks, ESPN, Lifetime, MTV Networks and Turner participated in a demo for several weeks—and they’re not impressed.
"Throughout our review it became apparent that the Media Exchange was too narrow an application, had clear connectivity issues related to cable’s emerging end-to-end e-business platforms and lacked the provisions necessary for capturing critical strategic and idea-driven intelligence during a buy," said Cunningham in a statement.
"Additionally, the refusal by major members of the agency community to consider this interface reinforced our conclusion that ending our participation was the correct decision for our members and their advertising clients."
The eMedia Exchange steering committee was founded by ten major advertisers (including Wal-mart, Toyota, Microsoft, H-P and Home Depot) and their media buyers, who collectively put up $50 million to build a pilot auction site for which they hired eBay.
The group today expressed disappointment at the decision by national cable networks not to take part in the online auction house, which is still in testing mode.
"We selected national cable for the pilot because they have a history of embracing new industry initiatives. We are surprised at the CAB’s unwillingness to continue the dialog on this topic," the committee said in a prepared statement today.
The CAB’s rejection of the proposed Web-based ad sales bazaar, which was debated at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ conference last month, has been communicated to CAB members, agencies and to members of the steering committee.
Their pull-out likely means the death of the initiative, which was championed in an early former by former Chrysler-turned-Wal-mart marketer Julie Roehm. As MediaPost noted last month, "The eBay system presumably would facilitate the sales process, but if no cable networks agree to sell spots online, it’s DOA."
The steering committee, undeterred, hopes to keep the initiative alive by working with national cable networks without CAB’s backing.
"It is evident that this is a very active marketplace and the idea of media exchanges is gaining momentum. We are still bullish about the system that has been produced," the committee’s statement noted. "It has unique combined expertise from eBay on the dynamic marketplace architecture, senior marketers and media buying experts. We will continue to pursue cable networks and are confident that the eMedia exchange will have traction with cable and other media."
The Association of National Advertisers described the initiative last August as an "idea proposed by a group of advertisers … to bring a stock market approach to buying/selling media. This would provide transparency to the marketplace and automation could result in lower costs for clients, agencies, and media sellers."