Electronic Media Trading: The US experience

Simon Thomas, Leo Burnett, describes progress with EDI in the United States - in particular a pilot study by The Electronic Cable Committee which aims to improve the process of buying, selling and administration of network cable time

Simon Thomas

Electronic commerce has been an emotive topic in the UK advertising industry over the last few years. The United States is no different. However, a number of EDI projects are being piloted in the US: perhaps the greatest success so far has been in the US cable television market, where the trading partners have put aside their individual commercial prejudices to establish a consistent and objective approach to establishing electronic trading practices.

Electronic commerce can be as simple as the transfer of trading data electronically (an e-mail, or a 'fax' as a data file and not printed); at its most complex EDI can be a fully integrated (and possibly fully automatic) 'real-time' sharing of trading data between multiple partners' computer systems, using specialist EDI communication networks and software. It has been reality for over two decades in some industries in both the UK and the US, providing significant cost and efficiency savings to trading partners - this has been especially evident in 'supply-chain' environments, such as retail, where EDI has, for example, reduced stock levels and replenishment cycles.