Tag Archives: Google Audio

Take A Look At Google’s Online Audio Ad Platform

Voices.com, an online marketplace for voice talent, has joined the list of companies providing production services for Google’s new audio ad format for Internet radio advertisers. The announcement, printed here, has a few things to say about Google’s Online Audio strategy:

“Google is extending its advertising platform so audio ad campaigns can be planned, purchased, tracked and measured on Internet radio, which includes both the simulcast of terrestrial broadcasts online as well as Internet-only audio streaming.” Yep,we knew most of that. Google guys John Breen and Jag Duggal have been hard at work for over a year now with a number of Internet-only stations, testing ad lengths and click through rates. Slacker is among the group of stations that have participated and seen some nice returns, and I did hear in Vegas that there will be an announcement that includes a big radio group coming soon.

The Voices.com release mentions the Google Ad Creation Marketplace, where advertisers can find vendors to create their audio ads. Google’s strategy is to sell integrated ad campaigns that include search (their bread and butter) along with audio, video and display ads. This marketplace is designed to enable that. It’s structured so that vendors create sample ads that are listed by ad type, length and price. Advertisers can browse through the ads and then contact the vendor directly for production.

Google’s Online Audio ads will range in length from :10 to :30 seconds and have an interactive display component that shows alongside the ad. A station’s earnings are – like everything else Google does – based on that click through rate. I’ve heard from some stations that the rates are very low but I’ve also heard of some that are not bad. Registered listener databases that enable the delivery of more targeted ads, reportedly boost click through rates.

Google Audio may be flying low these days, but they’re on my radar. As a potential revenue solution, they should be on yours too…

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Slacker Will Launch On Demand Streaming Service

Streaming music service Slacker is readying an on-demand streaming service for launch, according to a report by Wired. Slacker’s current offerings include interactive streams as well as pre-formatted channels. The service launched in 2007 with a dedicated portable device that could have, would have been a unique selling tool for the platform if streaming apps on smartphones hadn’t started to soar. Instead, Slacker abandoned the dedicated mobile device strategy and turned its attention to mobile apps. It’s available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other popular off-the-pc devices.

The new service will reportedly allow for an even greater degree of listener interactivity. The station already allows more interactivity than Pandora – listeners can add specific songs to their stations or playlists, while Pandora only permits adding artists. For five bucks a month, listeners can also nix audio ads, add unlimited song skips and requests.

Slacker intends to use the service to upsell its audience to a more premium offering that gives them greater control over their music. There’s no word on how much the service will cost.

During a panel that I hosted in Toronto at RAIN Summit North on March 12th, Slacker VP Jim Rondinelli indicated that ad sales have been healthy for Slacker. He noted that over the past year, they have sold almost all of their audio inventory through audio sales firm Targetspot as well as through Google’s Audio/Adsense platform.

No doubt, the launch of a highly interactive service is a move to position themselves against Pandora, the most popular streaming radio platform, as well as a few new services. MOG is an on-demand streaming service that costs $5 a month for unlimited streaming of whatever you want to hear. Last week they announced new mobile apps for iPhone and Android, upping the ante for the service that had previously been tethered to pc’s. Spotify is another on-demand streaming service that – although they have yet to launch here in the states – Slacker no doubt has on its radar…

Rumors About Google Music

google_logo_smallMy inbox was all about Google’s rumored new music service yesterday.

Early in the day Techcrunch wrote: Google will soon launch a music service, we’ve heard from multiple sources, and the company has spent the last several weeks securing content for the launch of the service from the major music labels. One source has referred to the new service as Google Audio.”

Later, Techcrunch modified their report with additional information that Google will partner with music services LaLa, iLike, and MySpace (which owns iLike), and that full details will be announced next week.

And still more from Techcrunch a little later: From information we’ve gathered from sources, the new service will be integrated into Google search. Users will be able to stream songs directly from Google via partners iLike and LaLa. Additional information around the music query will be provided to users as well.” They also reported that listeners will be able to purchase songs for download.

From all of that as well as stuff I got from a few contacts and some twitter watching, it looks to me like Google is getting in to the music game. I heard that what Google has planned will be good for the online music space and will be complementary to other offerings. I gather that Google will enable searches for music. It sounds like search results will feature music services LaLa and iLike, but I think that it might not just be those services that benefit, that maybe they’re just the first partners, beta partners per se. I assume that the vast amount of music on YouTube will play a big part in this, and I suspect they’ll be room for others as well.

For the rest, we may have to wait until October 28th…

Ando Media and Spacial Audio Merge

andoAndo Media and Spacial Audio, two of the largest Internet radio advertising technology platforms, announced a merger yesterday. It’s a pairing that makes a lot of sense, given that Ando Media’s list of client stations was largely streaming broadcasters, while Spacial Audio’s client list was largely online streaming stations. Ando Media, working with over 6,500 affiliates, has become the leader in audience measurement with its Webcast Metrics audience measurement product. Ando also provides ad replacement technology for terrestrial broadcasters. Spacial Audio has been the leader in providing automation, ad-insertion and an array of other digital services to primarily pure-play webcasters.

“This merger brings together the strength of Ando’s more terrestrial customer base with Spacial’s large Internet-only base,” said Bob Maccini, Ando CEO. “Together, we now are working across the entire spectrum to drive the streaming audio category to new levels.”

Spacial CTO and co-founder Louis Louw said, “The complementary nature of our technologies will allow each company to offer expanded capabilities to our established customer bases.”

It’s true, the two companies have similar capabilities, but while Ando Media’s system had been designed for and marketed to streaming broadcasters, Spacial Audio’s technology provides similar tools to online brands.

Both companies have also had some strategic successes this year that helped them emerge as significant players in the marketplace. Ando Media’s Webcast Metrics has recently emerged as the defacto choice for Internet radio audience measurement, adding Targetspot and Pandora in addition to their existing long list of clients. Meanwhile, Spacial Audio partnered with Google Audio last spring to offer its stations the chance to work with that platform.

What’s Up with Google Audio?

Last week when I read that Google had decided to abandon its newspaper ad sales platform, I wondered if their attempts at selling broadcast radio inventory would be next. While I was mulling this over I received a call from Kate Kaye at Clickz, who had the same thoughts and wanted to know what I thought. Thanks to Kaye for sorting through some of the history on this, you can read her article here.

Google purchased dMarc Broadcasting early in 2008 as a way to enter the terrestrial broadcasting marketplace with dMarc’s broadcast traffic automation platform. Their thinking was that they would apply a similar business model to their AdWords program, google-adwordswhich allows smaller advertisers to purchase highly targeted ads. From the beginning they encountered problems – many broadcasters simply did not want to work with Google and would not sign over any inventory. Without inventory, the were hard pressed to say they had targetability on a local level.  They did eventually get a deal with Clear Channel, and then with Emmis, and their site now says they have 1600 stations.

Stations tend to use the program to sell off remnant inventory, and as I told Clickz, there’s plenty of remnant inventory in this economic climate, which might make it easier for them to make inroads with stations. 

Google has yet to enter the Internet radio market, but a company that has a similar business model in that space is Targetspot. targetspotTargetspot sells targeted ad campaigns to small businesses and sells inventory for Entercom, CBSRadio and other broadcasters. Last fall, they added a national sales strategy to their approach when they purchased National Internet Radio Rep Firm RL Radio. Recently, they’ve added more and more stations to their network. It would appear that their two pronged strategy of selling directly to local advertisers as well as using sales pros on a national level is working. They’ve succeeded in aggregating a substantial national network of inventory.  

Apparently Google is staying in the broadcast radio ad sales game. Which makes me wonder whether they have begun to eye the Internet radio space as a source of inventory. In this economy, they may find a few more broadcasters interested in hearing what they have to offer.

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