Chips off the old blocks: Madison Avenue looks to Wall Street

Joe Mandese

When it comes to the mechanics of media buying and selling, Madison Avenue has long been envious of another industrial neighbourhood: Wall Street. For years, big ad agencies and their clients have coveted the super-efficient way the financial industry has handled its transactions, and have toyed with the idea of creating the media world's equivalent of Europe's FTSE, Japan's Nikei, or America's Nasdaq exchanges. Instead of trading commodities and company securities, the ad industry's version would trade media time and space. Media buying exchanges first gained popularity during the late 1990s with the run-up to the internet, and fell into disfavour following the bursting of the dotcom bubble. Maybe it's the resurgence of the online media marketplace, but the concept of online media buying exchanges is suddenly hot again, and so-called 'new economy' players as varied as eBay and Google are once again courting Madison Avenue.