Spacial Audio, a Streaming and Ad Insertion provider, has partnered with Google to sell streaming audio inventory on Internet only stations in its network. Over the past few months, Spacial and Google have been conducting an Alpha Test of a new system for selling and placing audio ads with companion banners on internet-only radio stations, using the Google AdWords-based system.
This announcement comes as Spacial has decided to make this system available to all Internet based stations on its platform. The alpha test is not offered to streaming broadcast stations at this time. A couple of months ago Google announced that they were planning to end their broadcast radio sales efforts and focus on building an online streaming audio ad platform (reported here). Last week, speaking on a panel at the RAIN Summit, Jag Duggal, Group Product Manager, Google Audio, provided bits and pieces of their plans and initial tests. This announcement by Spacial is the first clear indicator of a direction.
Both the choice of Spacial Audio as a partner and the decision to focus initially on online brands makes sense for Google. The online brands have more flexibility in ad insertion since they do not need to be concerned about matching lengths to over the air spots and timing. Spacial Audio’s software for ad insertion is well suited and widely used by online broadcasters’ needs. Google can experiment with commercial lengths that optimize results for advertisers.
Spacial has announced a list of criteria that stations must meet to qualify for the test. All stations will be paid for ads run during the test phase of the system. Stations must be using the Spacial Audio’s Ad Insertion software, which will be provided for free during the test for stations that are not currently using it. In addition, stations must be using Windows Media for streaming, and must use a proprietary Spacial player. The announcement adds that stations should have a minimum of 100 concurrent listeners, although smaller stations may be considered.
This is exciting news for Spacial and Google, and for Internet radio in general as it adds another major player to the rapidly evolving streaming audio ad revenue marketplace.