Bid4Spots to Gavel Local Cable Avails

Bid4Spots, the online reverse-auction clearinghouse for unsold radio inventory, will inaugurate a similar service for local cable TV airtime on Thursday, June 11.

After a few weeks of testing the service, Bid4Spots’ cable auction will go live at 11 a.m. EDT, with proceedings to carry on until 3 p.m. EDT. In a reverse-auction scenario, the advertiser set the terms of a prospective buy, which are then appraised by cable operators with unsold inventory on their hands. Operators go online and bid for the client’s business, and the lowest bid lands the deal.

In a sense, what Bid4Spots offers cable operators is akin to the service Priceline.com provides for hotel owners. While the spots go at a discount, at least some money is coming in. Likewise, if you’re running the front desk at a Holiday Inn, a reduced room rate beats a vacancy any day of the week.

Dave Newmark, Bid4Spots founder and CEO, said local cable systems “from many large markets around the country” have already registered with the company’s auction site. On the other end of the sales continuum, nearly 30 advertisers have signed on for Thursday’s auction.


“So far the response from both advertisers and cable operators has been very positive,” Newmark said. “Advertisers are especially interested in how our marketplace finally makes it easy to buy time on certain cable networks in particular markets at great rates. We offer both sides a level of control and flexibility not often found in cable TV advertising.”  

According to Bid4Spots, about 10 to 25 percent of local cable TV airtime typically remains unsold, adding up to between $263 to $657 million of local cable’s $2.63 billion take.
 
In addition to the cost efficiencies, the Bid4Spots system also allows clients to target demos down to the neighborhood level. All buys made on any given Thursday will be executed in the following week.

Bid4Spots launched its marketplace for radio in 2005, and since then the company has built up a network of 2,500 radio stations and 3,200 advertisers.