Starcom Abandoning CPM Models


John Muszynski, CEO of ad-buying giant Starcom, Chicago, brought down the house at last week’s Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau local ad sales conference in Chicago. On a panel loaded with some of TV’s top media buyers, Muszynski declared that Starcom is abandoning traditional cost-per-thousand (CPM) advertising models based on the delivery of audience impressions. He wants to move toward “pay-for-effectiveness” models that reward media outlets for delivering consumers who are more engaged with his clients’ messages. “Hear what I’m saying,” he told the audience. “If you engage with consumers, we will pay you for it.”

Cable execs love any kind of talk that might tilt money away from the broadcast networks, but this message, coming from the powerful Starcom, was especially significant. They’ve been preaching the “engagement” mantra for years, but now it looks like the agency may have figured out how to make it work.

Muszynski hinted that the new metrics resemble the kind of “cost-per-lead” generation deals used by the direct- response and online industries. But he wouldn’t reveal any other details to B&C, saying that he wanted to wait until the current ad-buying season is over. The implication: Some of the deals the agency is negotiating right now may be using the new approach.