Proper Proposal

Wide Orbit offers more-accurate inventory info

Wide Orbit claims an industry first: the first TV traffic system with a research-and-proposal (R&P) function.

Traditionally, research tools from third-party vendors, such as TV Scan and OneDomain, are integrated into traffic systems. Those systems, coupled with a traffic-and-billing component, give TV ad-sales teams a better sense of available inventory and ratings information. The catch? The user has to bounce between two separate applications.

They won't have to do that with Wide Orbit.

Integrating the R&P function speeds the sales process and makes it more accurate, according to Wide Orbit founder and CEO Eric Mathewson. "The system accesses the inventory information automatically, allowing the salesperson to solicit new business for available inventory. That way, the sales team sells only what's available—instead of selling everything and then trying to find room for new spots."

Historically, the R&P function has been handled via fax. The agency faxes a request for available TV spots that match the demo they want to reach, and the station responds, via fax, with the best matches. Because there is no link to the traffic system, the fax won't highlight available inventory. As a result, business gets overbooked, and clients who pay less or are less-favored get bumped.

Mathewson expects the new feature to streamline the process. If a sales rep knows what other advertisers are willing to pay for a given spot, he or she won't have to waste time and energy selling a spot that will never run.

The feature will be beta-tested in May and rolled out to Wide Orbit's customers in July or August.