Out Of Newspapers, Google Committed To Radio
January 26, 2009 at 5:10 AM (PT)
GOOGLE is best known for its ability to monetize intangible services, mainly for connecting people with information on the Internet. But when GOOGLE leapt into offline media, it entered a world of sometimes clunky legacy systems that bear little resemblance to GOOGLE's streamlined digital platforms, writes CLICKZ.COM. The inefficiency of the systems associated with placing newspaper ads may have been a reason the firm ditched its print newspaper ad program last week (NET NEWS 1/21).
But GOOGLE appears dedicated to its radio ad business, despite the old media hurdles involved. For one, convincing radio stations to adopt its programming platform seems to be a challenge.
GOOGLE bought DMARC BROADCASTING in 2006 to move into terrestrial radio advertising. Through the acquisition, it obtained technologies for radio programming and advertising that are provided as hardware, sold by resellers, and shipped just like computer hard drives or processors. There are 1,600 radio stations in GOOGLE's network, according to the company. However, the inventory tends to be the stuff radio cannot sell itself, mainly remnant, late-night ad slots.
In addition to the deals with CLEAR CHANNEL and EMMIS, GOOGLE appears to be banking on distribution of the automation platform, which it recently updated, to bring more inventory. And the company has used some creative ways to promote the system. "They offered us the latest software for free," said the chief engineer for several radio stations, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Although he has not installed the newest version of the technology, three years ago his company installed an updated version of the DMARC system they were already using, mainly because GOOGLE offered them a great deal. Essentially, GOOGLE gave them the upgrade in exchange for a certain number of ad slots per day for a three-year period, providing guaranteed inventory for the fledgling audio network. "I think they were trying to get their name out there at the time," he said. Today, the radio firm has fulfilled its barter agreement, but still provides GOOGLE with around 500 spots per day on four stations.
GOOGLE lists several audio ad "success stories" on its site for firms including GIFTS.COM, GOLFNOW, and MOTOR TREND AUTO SHOWS. Yet, GOOGLE still does a lot of promotion and education to get advertisers interested. In October 2007, the firm offered advertisers $2,000 toward future radio ads when they spent a minimum of $1,000 on an individual campaign. And early next month the firm is holding "AudioCast 2009" in its NEW YORK offices, an event for "advertisers, agencies, broadcasters, and forward-looking innovators who are committed to creating a sustainable radio business."