Tools & Research: Future Tool
Media buyers and planners know how time-consuming the trafficking of print and radio ads can be. Those looking to streamline that process can now consider using the Internet, or at least the Internet according to the FastChannel Network.
For the past few years the company has been building a network of publishers and radio stations around the U.S. and Canada. FastChannel now has the ability to instantaneously deliver ads from agencies to the ad departments of more than 4,300 publishers and every radio station in the country, according to George Lange, the company’s VP of marketing. All of this is done through the use of FastChannel’s software and the Internet. And through future acquisitions, the company may even be able to track the performance of print and radio ads.
“Our overall play is streamlining the entire advertising process,” says Lange. “Through our service, media buyers can even take advantage of last-minute buys, because the delivery [of ads and spots] is instantaneous. If they are doing a 200- to 300-station buy, for example, they usually have to take the spot, fax the order to a delivery service, [the service] keys it in and [the buyers] need to deliver it to all those stations. We cut that all out.”
Here’s how it works.
A user logs on to FastChannel’s site (www.fastchannel.com) and signs up for the service. A FastChannel representative contacts the primary user (Lange assures that you will be contacted that day), free software is downloaded and installed, and an individual pass code is supplied. For radio ads (assuming the station has a Web component), the user can upload (to a secure server) all of the spots, indicate all of the stations on that buy, enter all necessary instructions, and hit send. The ad departments at the stations are instantly notified that spots are waiting to be downloaded.
If the radio station does not have a website, the order is automatically routed to a hub where the spots are burned onto a CD and physically delivered the next day. The ad departments are notified of this fact as well. For print ads, the process is similar, except users upload all images for the buys.
FastChannel also provides 24-hour technical support from its offices in Belmont, Mass.; Seattle; Chicago and London. It may soon have offices in New York and San Francisco.
So what does it cost? Although the software is free, users are charged per delivery, usually an average of $7 per radio spot and $6 per print ad. Lange says these charges may vary.
Trafficking is a major part of FastChannel’s business, but users also have the ability to archive and view archived ads. Six months ago the company purchased eCreativeSearch, an Internet-based creative search and archiving service. Users can look up any advertiser by ad based on the simplest of search terms, like “cheese commercial, boy with red hair.” The eCreativeSearch system also provides a full list of credits for that ad. This is a fee-based service and users are charged based on the size of the agency and the number of users. Anyone interested in this service should also go through the FastChannel website.