Rivals vie to offer electronic delivery of regional ad copy

The Newspaper Society launches a free electronic artwork delivery system this week in the first step of its initiative to make the regional press more accessible to advertisers.

The Newspaper Society launches a free electronic artwork delivery

system this week in the first step of its initiative to make the

regional press more accessible to advertisers.



Adfast, the online system unveiled this Thursday, is the first of seven

key solutions outlined in the society’s ’Now’ report, which was

published in February following a year-long consultation process between

industry and advertisers.



However, a competitor to the planned system has emerged even before its

official launch. The Seattle-based group Mediapassage. com launched its

’artsend’ service in the UK in January, promising agencies higher

quality integrated services for a small fee.



The group, which has operated for three years in the US, claims that

regional advertisers lose a total of pounds 18 million a year by

operating through traditional channels.



The arrival of Mediapassage and AdvertExpress, which launched a media

space exchange aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses this month,

raises the possibility that online ad distribution will be controlled

from outside the newspaper industry.



In addition to recommending that an industry-owned art delivery system

be in place by 2001, the ’Now’ report called for investment in ad

effectiveness research, cross-industry reproduction standards, online ad

sales operations and a database of section information.



’If the industry can deliver on its programme, I believe we will see the

dramatic transformation of the regional press into a powerful and

effective national advertising medium,’ Rupert Howell, president of the

IPA, said.



The push has been backed by a pounds 3 million marketing campaign

created for the regional press by BDH TBWA.



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