A ’big bang’ equivalent to the City’s electronic revolution is set
to sweep the media industry, drastically changing the way space and
airtime is bought and sold.
This is the prediction made in a ’white paper’ by MediaTel, the company
behind the radio industry’s Jicrit electronic booking system.
The ’white paper’ comes to light in the same week that Virgin Radio
announces a new ’extranet’ billed as ’paving the way for online
trading’, and Chysalis launches an interactive website for its Heart FM
and Galaxy FM brands.
MediaTel’s managing director, Derek Jones, said: ’Once the internet came
along it was inevitable that people would invent online trading, and
Jicrit has taken the radio industry a long way down that road. Six
agencies and all the sales points are already using it. Other media will
follow as people see the cost and time savings available.
’The fact that intranet and extranet systems are being developed by
media owners shows the direction in which people are moving, even though
they are informative rather than being designed for trading.’
Virgin Radio’s plan is to use its extranet as a ’trade loyalty club’,
rewarding regular users with tailor-made goodies such as tickets to see
their favourite band or football team. Each agency member accessing the
site is given a PIN number, and will be able to access ’discreet trading
data’, Rajar and TGI statistics as well as being able to book tickets
for events promoted by Virgin Radio and Ginger Online.
Zenith Media has been testing the system, which the station is now
rolling out to all major buying points.
Lee Roberts, deputy sales director at Virgin, said: ’Airtime trading can
be just like spot trading on exchanges, or buying travel tickets online.
We are totally committed to online trading as the future of buying.’
Addressing the question of whether this would leave sales people out of
a job, Roberts added: ’With a team of 100 telesales people you might cut
back, but we wouldn’t do that because we have a handful of bright,
creative people. If they were freed from all the admin by online
trading, we’d be able to use their talents more creatively.’
Yvonne Scullion, broadcast director at Zenith Media, said: ’As with
every other industry, the future of business-to-business transactions is
moving online. Virgin’s extranet will lead to other media owners moving
to web based initiatives.’
In the US, websites such as adauction.com have been used to trade
new-media space, and adauction.com is now expanding into the outdoor