Will online auctions of radio spots affect radio’s lowest unit rates?
Attorney David Oxenford of Davis Wright Tremaine discussed the question in his blog and concludes that only the FCC knows for sure.
“Last week’s announcement of the partnership between eBay and Bid4Spots and the impending full launch of Google’s service to sell online radio spots beg for FCC action to clarify how these services will be treated for lowest unit rate purposes,” he wrote.
“The increasing number of online sales tools for broadcast advertising inventory highlights the issue. If advertisers can buy spots using these online systems on a single station, or if stations offer their spots to a particular advertiser at a set price for a specific class of spot, it would seem that these spots could have an effect on the station’s lowest unit rate if the spots sold through the online systems run during lowest unit rate periods …
“For the peace of mind for all broadcasters, it would be worth the FCC clarifying the status of these services as we hurtle toward what will probably be the busiest political year ever.”
He added, “We understand that the FCC has considered these systems and some guidance may be in the works.”