CBS Radio hits first digital target with deal

Investment in TargetSpot will create digital ads

NEW YORK -- In one of CBS Radio's first major moves in the technology space since Dan Mason recently took over as president and CEO, the CBS Corp. unit said Tuesday that it has incubated and become an investor in TargetSpot Inc., a provider of advertising serving technology for advertisers and Internet broadcasters.

The companies didn't detail the amount of the investment, but TargetSpot said it also received funding from Union Square Ventures and Oddcast Inc.

The company's technology allows businesses and individuals to create, buy and place their own advertising messages within streaming media using an array of jingles, sound effects and visuals provided by TargetSpot. Ads are then targeted to specific demographics, locations or properties, with the revenue being shared between TargetSpot and its respective broadcast partner.

Later in the year, TargetSpot will start offering a solution for streaming video advertising, the company said Tuesday.

CBS Radio said it will utilize the firm's technology on its more than 100 music, talk, sports and news radio stations broadcasting live via the Internet.

Mason last month took over the CBS Radio helm from Joel Hollander (HR 3/27). In an at the time, he signaled an interest in bringing more digital applications and other technology to CBS Radio stations.

The development of TargetSpot came largely under his predecessor. Based on its need for an ad-serving solution for its streaming radio stations, CBS Radio worked for about a year with Oddcast, a partner on previous projects, to build the core technology.

"What we have created is a sophisticated advertising platform unlike any other technology being used by radio today," Mason said. "Advertising in streaming media isn't like putting up a banner ad on a Web page ... the technology, among the purest forms of business to business advertising, is specifically designed for monetizing streaming audio and video."

TargetSpot also said Tuesday that Doug Perlson will lead it as a co-founder and its CEO.

Perlson most recently served as COO of Seevast, previously known as Kanoodle, an owner and operator of Internet-based marketing services businesses.

Before that, the executive was senior vp partner development and operations at About.com.

"This is the first platform to allow all businesses, regardless of size, to easily and cost-efficiently utilize streaming media advertising," Perlson said Tuesday. "TargetSpot democratizes what has traditionally been the domain of large advertisers with big creative budgets."

He also said that the technology will open doors for more local advertisers, which he argued "have largely been limited to yellow pages, inserts, direct mail and weekly newspapers" because of high production costs and an inability to clearly target local audiences.
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