The Word unveils online services

Regional press sales house The Word has launched a ground-breaking website as the first step towards an online media planning and buying service.

Regional press sales house The Word has launched a ground-breaking

website as the first step towards an online media planning and buying

service.



The free site includes an ’advertising rate calculator’ enabling users

to view up-to-the-minute circulation details and page rates for every

regional daily newspaper.



The site is segmented by television region to act as an at-a-glance

reference for media planners. It also provides links to publishing

houses’ own websites.



But The Word’s chief executive Gavin Caldwell said the site was only a

first step ’into the wider world of online booking’.



Agencies that have a contract with The Word will shortly be able to

access a more sophisticated password-protected service. This will enable

them to e-mail schedules and agreed costs, while The Word will be able

to process the booking and e-mail a confirmation.



’It will also link in to our newspapers so we can book with them over

the web,’ said Caldwell. He estimated the service would be up and

running ’in the next six months’.



’This won’t impact on the sales role because costs will still need to be

agreed face to face,’ he added. ’But the service will cut out yet

another level of paperwork.’



The Word is also planning a service for production companies. It will

give them access to data such as paper size, column widths and

production deadlines for every regional weekly, daily and free title,

not just those handled by The Word.



Caldwell said the moves were designed to streamline access to the

regional press. ’We are offering these services free. They’re not

profit-making exercises for us, which is why we have included other

regional titles in the mix. The plan is to make the whole process easier

so more people book with regional newspapers.



’They may not be booking an ad through The Word, but it’s all money

going into regional press, which at the end of the day benefits

everyone.’



The first stage of The Word’s site launched at the end of last week.



As well as the online planning guide, it includes information on the

company, details of clients and campaigns, news and business

information.



Meanwhile, The Word continues to consider its future following

Caldwell’s resignation (Media Business, 18 October). Caldwell has

promised to stay at the company until April and it is not known if he

will be replaced.



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