Electronic data interchange becoming a reality

More than five years after they first began talking about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Canadian media buyers and sellers can finally expect to become part of the electronic age later this year. Brian Pearman, president of Toronto-based Electronic Space & Time...

More than five years after they first began talking about Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Canadian media buyers and sellers can finally expect to become part of the electronic age later this year.

Brian Pearman, president of Toronto-based Electronic Space & Time and the man that’s shepherding the move toward EDI on behalf of a number of agencies and media suppliers, says all the difficult and time-consuming work has now been done, so once the project gets final industry approval, the system could be up and running as early as this summer.

Since leaving Genesis Media two years ago, Pearman has spent much of his time advocating industry standards for the electronic transmission of business documents that are needed to buy television, radio, newspaper, magazine and outdoor advertising. Eliminating much of the paperwork that buyers and sellers are now required to do, many in the media management industry believe, will result in huge cost savings.

The delivery of contracts, insertion orders and invoices will be handled through an Internet-based software system operated by a yet-to-be-determined third-party service bureau.

‘I’m telling everyone if they make a commitment, we could get all the documents flowing back and forth by the end of this year,’ says Pearman.

He says the EDI concept is easier to sell today than it was five years ago because everyone has had a chance to become more comfortable with electronic transactions of all kinds.

Sunni Boot, president of Optimedia Canada, is a strong supporter of the EDI project and believes it’s a necessity for the industry. With traditional paper-based systems, she says, discrepancies in the scheduling of television commercials could take up to 45 days to be discovered by the time a confirmation makes it back to the agency from the broadcaster. Such discrepancies, she adds, have invoicing implications for clients.

‘Our business is based on thousands of transactions in any given week or month and we’re the last industry left that isn’t electronically transferring this data,’ Boot says. ‘The data we get is subject to input errors – human errors – that I won’t say will be eliminated, but that will be vastly reduced by EDI.’

To date, the electronic transfer of information has primarily been restricted to invoices being distributed by such companies as Donovan Data Systems Canada (formerly Harris Donovan Systems Limited).

Wally Oakes, president of DDS Canada, says discrepancies in the paper-based system are causing a lot of media people, on both the buying and selling sides, to ignore the information they’re receiving.

‘I think people are drowning in paper.’

Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.