NEW YORK: The US cable industry is reportedly putting its considerable weight behind a revolutionary new scheme to buy television airtime via a special online auction facility on eBay.

The pilot scheme, a long-touted idea of Wal-Mart Stores' marketing communications svp Julie Roehm, has attracted interest from nearly 120 advertisers [WARC News: 11-May-06].

The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, for its part, has written to a number of TV ad-sales presidents recommending they "consider their possible inclusion into this test".

A prototype, built by eBay, is to be demonstrated in November and expected to go live early in 2007. It will enable advertisers and agencies to click on a desired network, specifying viewer age, gender and time; see the available inventory; see the time remaining in the auction; and enter a bid.

An alternative version would solicit offers from sellers on pitch requests from identified advertisers with specific budgets.

Ebay would take a small slice of each transaction value as a fee while media owners can determine how much of their inventory to offer via the system.

The project also has the support of the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff