Turner Streamlining Ad Buys On Basic-Cable Nets

Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. has come up with a new system that it says will eliminate the mountains of paperwork created every time an advertiser buys time on a basic-cable network.

“We want to clean up this messy back-office situation and make it easier for ad agencies to put their money into cable,” said Rick Sirvaitis, executive v.p. of TBSI, at a Jan. 9 news conference to announce the new scheme.

Called Cablexchange, the system, developed by Jefferson Pilot Data Services, uses a computer network to pinpoint which commercial spots are sold and which are not at any given time on TBS, CNN, TNT and Headline News, the four Turner-owned basic-cable channels.

TBSI will also use the electronic data network for what’s called post-analysis of the spots that the cable channels have

guaranteed. If the ratings fall below those guarantees, the cable networks have to pony up freebie spots to the advertisers, called makegoods.

Also at the news briefing was Rad Stone, v.p. of marketing for the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, who said that a big benefit of Cablexchange will be “the setting up of one standardized contract” to cover all of the basic-cable networks.

Servaitis said that although TBSI has invested more than a million dollars in developing Cablexchange, it will not be exclusive to Turner: Jefferson Pilot will make it available to all of the other basic-cable networks.

TBSI will begin using Cablexchange data for its four basic-cable networks in May ’91, says Sirvaitis, and the system should be fully operational by October of this year.

And as for the other two dozen or so basic-cable networks, Doug Rother, v.p. and g.m. of station services for Jefferson Pilot Data, said, “Once they see this system up and running, they’ll stand in line to sign up for the service.”

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