NEWS: Electronic booking of press ads could soon find approval

A clutch of agencies, including a major multinational network, are pushing for the advertising industry to accept a new electronic-press booking system that would lead to greater transparency in the press ad marketplace.

A clutch of agencies, including a major multinational network, are

pushing for the advertising industry to accept a new electronic-press

booking system that would lead to greater transparency in the press ad

marketplace.



The planned system, through Reuters, would not only fully automate the

booking and scheduling of all press ads, but also the raising and

payment of invoices. This is a potential problem area because some

agencies have traditionally made money from sitting on cash they have

procured from clients early.



Reuters presented its proposals to the Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising earlier this month. A number of agencies have so far

welcomed the proposals and said they are prepared to work with Reuters.

Others have rejected the scheme.



One insider has accused the agencies who criticise the scheme of failing

to move with the times. ‘We may potentially have to give up a revenue

stream, but it’s going to happen anyway,’ he said.



Another agency principal who is pushing for industry-wide acceptance of

the Reuters’ scheme commented: ‘In the past, many of the media owners

and administration systems were not up to scratch. Some media

independents grew up by managing cash effectively and taking advantage

of the system’s inefficiencies. Some agencies are guilty of sitting on

money.’



John Raad, deputy director general at the IPA, said: ‘This was very much

the first opportunity for Reuters to explain its plans for the UK. We do

see the long-term benefits, but our concern is that, if it is brought in

on a piecemeal basis, agencies may end up running two systems in

parallel. We’re worried about the additional cost.’



Most press bookings currently go through one computer bureau, Donovan

Data Systems.



Kevin O’Brien, a business development executive at Reuters, said: ‘We

have a long history of effectively analysing data and allowing people to

trade off it. We are offering the ad industry a system to facilitate

seamless transactions in an electronic environment. This will lead to

transparency in the market.’



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