Typically, most broadcast networks give two minutes an hour of local ad time to stations to sell in any given prime-time show for its 200-plus affiliated stations.
ABC says the new effort, called the Inventory Exchange System, will allow TV stations to add more local inventory for stations in high-demand selling periods: end-of-the-year holidays, end-of-month car sales and major political elections.
The initial efforts will be available to stations beginning in October, timed for the heavy election campaigning period.
"With this groundbreaking announcement, we're creating a new industry paradigm, one that benefits both the network and our affiliates," stated Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group.
She added: "With a relationship built on trust and cooperation, we'll continue to work with our affiliates to challenge the status quo and identify more opportunities that leverage our unique national and local strengths."
ABC did not say where the new inventory time would come from -- its own network ad coffers, television program promotion time, or other areas.
TV stations have seen a resurgence in local ad spending over the last year, with many ad revenues pacing up 20% to 30% or more versus prior periods. Many TV platforms, including cable TV networks, say some time period and dayparts are sold out for the third- and fourth-quarter periods.
Cable TV networks can give their affiliates -- local cable operators -- anywhere from three minutes to four minutes an hour -- depending on the network.