Cox, ABC stations in market alliance

Pact includes online sales, other digital media

NEW YORK -- Cox Cross Media, the digital sales arm of Cox Enterprises, announced a marketing alliance Monday with the ABC Owned Television Stations Group.

Under the deal, CXM will handle online sales for the Web sites of ABC's 10 owned-and-operated stations. In addition, CXM and ABC have agreed to market each other's online brands, with an eye toward expanding the relationship to other digital media.

"The relationship is a walk-before-you-run arrangement," CXM senior vp Steve Shaw said. "Right now, we're about online; in the end, we'd like to build a total integrated digital offering."

The Cox unit also is busy installing a free desktop database at agencies that allows shops to peruse inventory options by geography and send requests to CXM for placement. The plan is to migrate the application to the Web.

CXM is one of several companies looking to create a robust national spot market across local Web sites. The unit was launched in October 2007 to sell online advertising for the Web sites of 300 TV stations repped by Cox's sales firms, and it has grown to rep more than 700 local media Web sites, including those for print and radio outlets.

"There will be a lot of shakeout in the space," Shaw said. "Not all the networks can remain viable."