News Analysis

By The Drum, Administrator

February 23, 2006 | 5 min read

On the 1 February 2006, J-ET finally made it to Scotland. Before looking at why J-ET is important to the advertising industry in Scotland, let me explain what it does.

J-ET is the UK radio industry’s online trading system, carrying over 80 per cent of all national radio revenue and the only trading system of its type in UK media. J-ET has been made possible by two phenomena – the Internet and cross-industry collaboration. J-ET is a classic example of using the Internet to provide a solution to business problems that were faced by various parts of the advertising industry.

The first problem was that the rapid growth of interest in radio advertising led to a more powerful spotlight being shone on the quality of information produced after a campaign had been broadcast. Within the media industry, television has consistently set the standard on accountability. RAB research among media planners reveals that television is rated a long way ahead of all other media in the provision of information about campaign delivery and this has set a standard for radio to aspire to. J-ET pulls together the spot broadcast times from the radio stations sold by the nine largest sales points. These are then merged with RAJAR data and presented to media buyers in a way that enables comparisons between what was booked and what was delivered.

The second problem was paper. In addition to the growth in demand for radio airtime, there had been a large increase in the number of stations that buyers could choose from and this was having a dramatic effect on the amount of paper-shuffling needed to book a radio campaign. This led to the inevitable question of “why can’t we get buyers’ computers to talk to sellers’ computers?”. For agencies and media owners J-ET creates a common language through which information on a seller’s screen is translated to a format which can be read on a buyer’s screen – or indeed vice versa.

In the latter part of the 90s, commercial radio agreed to tackle these two problems as an industry, rather than on a company-by-company basis. This unique collaboration between the commercial radio industry and the advertising industry is called JICRIT (Joint Industry Commercial Radio IT).

One of our sister companies in Aegis Media, Carat, was one of the first agencies to trial J-ET, so we have known about this system for many years. The full system was available in London in 2000 and rolled out to Manchester in 2004. Our Manchester office has certainly felt the benefits of J-ET and it has been a frustrating wait for this technology to be available in Scotland. In 2005 Feather Brooksbank initiated contact with other interested agencies in Scotland in an attempt to speed up the process of introducing J-ET to Scotland and are delighted our efforts paid off and it is now up and running. However, one of the benefits of being late-comers to the system is that others have identified any problems and improvements which have been ironed out over the last few years!

Here are some of the reasons why we were keen to install J-ET:

Accountability – it gives advertisers greater accountability on their radio advertising campaign with easy to access online post-campaign accountability for your radio buying. Campaign evaluations in the past involved a lengthy process, and J-ET makes it easy and cuts out the paperwork as well as the time. PCA’s (Post Campaign Analysis) are available by week, station, daypart and more.

Efficiency – Buyers and sellers can communicate information between screens, send and receive electronic briefs and proposals, and store these on the system. Trading efficiency improves as buyers (and sellers) time will be freed up to be more pro-active and creative in the radio planning process.

Reporting – We can download any information into Excel and chart reports instantly and centralise all campaign data for analysis and reporting.

Competitive edge – in a highly competitive marketplace it is essential that Scottish agencies have the same tools available in London and Manchester agencies.

Audits – A full online audit trail is available for each campaign. For larger clients that are subject to audits, J-ET simplifies this process and clients will expect us to have the same technology as our London and Manchester counterparts

Paper – we will save a fortune in paper as we no longer need pages of faxes coming through with our radio proposals as it will all be available on screen.

Error – Overall reduction in duplicating tasks and human error.

J-ET is no small investment for both media owners and agencies. However, we see this as an essential and worthwhile investment which will ultimately help us to deliver our clients a more efficient and accountable service for their radio planning and buying. If you are an advertiser spending money on radio, can you be confident on all of the above points?

In a nutshell, J-ET will make the planning and buying of radio easier and more accountable, which has to be a good thing...


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