Google, Clear Channel strike radio ad deal


NEW YORK - Google is getting the traction its needed to make serious in-roads at terrestrial radio with its Audio Ads insertion system by announcing a long-term deal to place ads on more than 675 Clear Channel Radio stations.

"Clear Channel is the market leader in delivering radio value to consumers and advertisers and has built an innovative platform to manage its on-air ad inventory," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt. "We look forward to working with Clear Channel Radio by providing a unique set of advertisers and a system that will increase the effectiveness and measurability of connecting advertisers with radio listeners."

"This is a true win-win," Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan, added. "Clear Channel Radio gets access to an entirely new group of advertisers within a new and complementary sales channel, and Google adds another option for its existing customers. Google has proven its ability to gain premiums for advertising inventory and that fits perfectly into our broader strategy of building value for advertisers while increasing our overall revenue yield. We're committed to working with the best-in-class and Google has a real economic incentive to produce meaningfully higher CPMs."

Financial terms of the deal, which begins in June and for thirty-second spots only, were not disclosed. However, the deal reportedly involves less then five% of total advertising time, and includes time slots like morning drive.

Google began beta testing its Web-based radio ads insertion system in December with about 700 stations, however none were in the top markets. Now with Clear Channel on board, Goggle's advertisers will have access to place ads on 1,600 stations nationwide.

Both Greater Media and Emmis Communications have experimented with Google's ad insertion system, but thus far have not made any broader commitment.

Chad and Ryan Steelberg, who early last year sold their automated radio ads company, dMarc, to Google for $102 million in cash and further payouts based on meeting future revenue targets, left the company in February after helping to launch Google's beta test. At the time, published reports citied growing tensions between the brothers and Google regarding differences in theory and application for radio ad sales as their reasons for exiting.

In related news, ENCO Systems Inc., a provider of digital audio delivery (DAD) systems, has announced the integration of support for Google's AdSense for Audio into their 5.3a and later versions of its DAD.

AdSense for Audio provides stations with the ability to review and/or reject any spot before it airs as well as providing real-time reports online to track advertising schedules and revenue. The system also delivers air-ready commercials directly to a station's DAD automation system in addition to real-time reports online to track advertising schedules and revenue reports.