Radio industry moves to introduce electronic trading have finally materialized, more than two years after plans were unveiled.
A joint venture by top radio owners and advertisers launched the much-anticipated e-trading system this month to a subscriber base accounting for £250m of radio adspend.
Senior radio buyers have welcomed the system as "the next step in the success story for radio".
It is the second objective of the joint venture between the CRCA and the IPA, known as JICRIT.
J-ET (Jicrit electronic trading) has an initial subscriber base of eight radio sales companies and 15 media buying agencies.
It follows the roll-out of the first objective, single-source post-campaign accountability tool which was delivered by Jicrit in 2000.
The e-trading tool has been plagued by delays over the past two years, which some observers have blamed on poor levels of investment by radio sales houses.
In June last year, the Radio Advertising Bureau predicted J-ET would be up and running by the end of 2001.
But several agency planners warned it would probably be 2002 before the system was in action.
Developed and maintained by media data services company MediaTel Group, the J-ET system enables electronic trading between radio sales points and media buying points.
It allows buyers and sellers to communicate screen-to-screen throughout the trading process, from initial briefing, through booking, to post-campaign accountability.
Jicrit says the ability to electronically exchange information from the full range of radio planning software will reduce the administrative burden of planning and buying radio campaigns.
Radio Advertising Bureau managing director Justin Sampson said: "Developing the J-ET system has been one of the RAB's biggest marketing investments on behalf of
"It is an important development in that J-ET has removed concerns about the accountability of the medium. This
latest launch will now give the medium an added USP in its dealings with the advertising industry."
Head of radio at BBJ Tim McCabe was one of those who welcomed the system.
"Although J-ET is a few months away from full completion, it is the next chapter in the success story for radio," he said.
"Hopefully, this will provide radio buyers with more accountability and access to quicker facilities for analysing data."
Jicrit's backers claim the system is the most all-embracing in the media industry for managing communications between advertising customers and the media owners' sales teams.