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Find deals for TV, radio ad spots online

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If you’ve often wanted to advertise on TV but found it too expensive, you might look into a growing crop of online companies that can make it easier—and more affordable—to create commercials and buy airtime.


• Spot Runner ( charges less than $500 for one of its 5,000 pre-produced commercials in dozens of industry segments. Or, you can customize advertisements with a log, text and photos.

How it works: Create a profile that includes your advertising budget, audience demographics and proposed air dates, stations or cable channels. Spot Runner responds with recommended time slots and prices.

Pay with a credit card and Spot Runner submits and books the advertisement electronically. Spot Runner receives a commission from the television outlet.

Downside: You’re somewhat limited as to how much you can customize Spot Runner’s pre-produced ads.

• Scatter TV ( allows you to buy, choose and compare advertising time slots online but doesn’t offer production services.

How it works: Select a market, submit desired time slots and other information, and specify a deadline for receiving replies. Television and cable broadcasters reply with time slots and costs.

The service is free to you, although broadcasters pay Scatter a transaction fee.

Downside: TV stations and cable operators aren’t required to respond to your “RFP.”

Similar services are popping up in radio. Dmarc Media Networks (, recently acquired by Google, sells airtime that might otherwise go unsold at competitive prices.

How it works: Dmarc allows advertisers to buy single or multiple radio spots at one or more of 5,000 stations nationwide. You can select radio stations, schedule and upload advertisements, and track when they run online.

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