Triton Digital has announced that they have inked an agreement to sell ReplaceAds Internet radio ad inventory. This adds more than a billion streaming audio and video impressions to Triton’s streaming network.
“The ReplaceAds™ Network further increases our digital sales footprint allowing us to provide a dramatically larger, more exclusive list of affiliates to our advertisers,” said Bill Freund, executive vice president of Triton Media Group. The ReplaceAds network has thousands of stations as affiliates, including both streaming broadcasters such as Sandusky Radio, Buckley Radio, Pamal Broadcasting, Main Line Broadcasting, Forever Broadcasting and Fox News Talk; as well as many large online brands like 977 Music, Radioio, Star104, and 1.FM.
The Triton Digital Network becomes much larger and more interesting with this move. Triton also has access to lots of streaming inventory through its relationship with the Dial Global Broadcast Network, which is owned by Triton. Freund says it’s still undetermined whether ReplaceAds will use AndoMedia’s Webcast Metrics to quantify the size of their audience. A few months ago, ReplaceAds announced that they had inked a deal to utilize Arbitron comScore for audience measurement, but since then that service has been halted. Since Targetspot and Katz Online – the other large online streaming networks – are now both being measured by Webcast Metrics, it would make sense for not just ReplaceAds, but all of Triton’s online network to be measured by the same service.
Triton becomes a major online audio network player with this move, competing with the above mentioned Targetspot and Katz Online. Each network can claim substantial coverage in terms of stations and impressions, but there’s crossover between all three as well. Targetspot and Katz Online share CBSRadio’s stations in their network, and Targetspot last week announced a list of new affiliates,some of whom are Katz clients as well – such as Saga and Bonneville. ReplaceAds and Katz Online share several stations: Sandusky, Fox News Talk, WOR and Radioio are a few. 977 Music is listed by all three networks.
This kind of crossover is practical from the station’s perspective, since they are working with multiple networks in an attempt to fully monetize their inventory. However, it could create confusion and concern about duplication in the marketplace, as well as put negative pressure on inventory as networks compete for sales. Online display ad networks saw cpms drop as the number of networks grew and exclusive relationships between sites and networks dropped. Google Audio’s entrance into the space in the next few months may complicate it further.
It may be time for networks to begin seeking more exclusive contracts with their affiliates than they have in the past to avoid those pitfalls. Stations should also carefully control inventory and pricing among multiple networks. This could be tricky – I’m not sure how many stations have systems in place to maximize rates and track inventory on their streams.