Scalable Ad Insertion Order Pilot Hits Roadblock
Time Inc SVP: “Not much gas” as an industry-wide initiative.
The wheels have come off the vehicle driving ad insertion order technology forward. That’s what Guy Gleysteen, senior vice president of production at Time Inc., said last week at IDEAlliance’s Print Media Executive Conference (Primex) 2008.
MPA, IDEAlliance, and key publishers like Time Inc. and Meredith have been sponsoring the development of a scalable ad insertion order pilot that would, as Gleysteen told FOLIO: in a February interview, “complete the magic triangle” with virtual proofing and ad portals to automate the ad placement process from order entry to electronic tear sheet. The pilot, developed through the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ (AAAA) ebiz for media initiative, would allow for widespread adoption because it would work for publishers large and small.
The ebiz initiative is an organized effort of AAAA to automate online business transactions, allowing buyers to submit orders and payment electronically.
The tipping point to determine the likelihood of widespread adoption of the scalable pilot came in the form of a meeting earlier this month, “when it became pretty clear we in fact had no real support from buy-side technology vendors,” Gleysteen said during the conference. “I’m up here in an awkward moment. What do we do next? It’s not completely clear.”
What Went Wrong?
The publishers and publishing-side vendors involved have invested in building the necessary specifications, in resources to address technical issues, but the roadblock appears to be on the buyer’s side, according to Gleysteen and Anne Finn, Primex co-presenter. Finn is MPA’s senior vice president of consumer marketing, and also has been involved in the initiative.
“We went into this with the AAAA under the assumption that they were going to deliver clients to this process,” said Finn. “I don’t think the intention has changed but it’s suffered from a massive drop-off in energy.” For example, she said, the CIO of Universal McCann said he would support the efforts a year ago, “but that’s the last we’ve heard of him.”
According to Finn, AAAA will tell the advertising community at its conference this month that “it’s not media’s fault, it your fault.”
Hope for the Future?
Despite a gloomy outlook, Finn told the PRIMEX crowd that they’d be hearing more on ebiz.
“If ad agencies are not demanding it and if buyer-side technology vendors are not prepared to meet our urging to engage, I think those principally who have invested in this need to ask: Do we take individual initiative? It doesn’t look like we have a lot of gas behind this as an industry initiative,” said Gleysteen.
“The process has been going on for 15 years,” Finn said. “Hey, it might happen in our lifetime.”