A group of leading US businesses has asked the Association of National Advertisers to look in detail at proposals for an internet auction system to buy and sell TV commercials airtime.

The notion of an online media exchange has been gaining ground for several years and was discussed again at last week's ANA financial management conference [WAMN: 11-May-06].

Ten major advertisers, including Wal-Mart Stores, Hewlett-Packard and Masterfoods, are seeking to set up a fighting fund of $50 million (€39.1m; £26.7m) to trial the system.

The ANA has been asked to engage senior marketers in discussing the advantages and viability of such a radical departure from the traditional way of buying airtime.

Comments Bob Liodice, ANA president /ceo: "The ANA is taking a proactive approach by supporting the acquisition of knowledge to get broader industry perspective."

He adds: "We need to see if there's consensus among advertisers that implementing a digital exchange will indeed benefit the industry as a whole."

Data sourced from Association of National Advertisers (USA); additional content by WARC staff