Google: Radio star or bit player?

I got the inside scoop from Google last week on its official launch of radio ads. Google’s Q3 earning conference did not mention radio or dMarc Broadcasting, so I asked Google “What’s up
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
I got the inside scoop from Google last week on its official launch of radio ads. Google’s Q3 earning conference did not mention radio or dMarc Broadcasting, so I asked Google “What’s up” with radio. 

Google AdSense for Radio, Google Audio Ads… Google has been changing the name of its touted foray into radio advertising, as well as the timing for a marketplace launch, since it acquired dMarc earlier in the year.

Google’s broad public statements provide little insight into how Google will actually use its dMarc acquisition to conquer the $20 billion radio advertising market.


At the Q2 conference call in July, Google CEO Eric Schmidt waxed poetic on the company’s radio ambitions: 

We are in the process of introducing AdSense for radio, which is essentially the integration of the dMarc Console and management tools into our advertising network. The dMarc team itself is fully integrated. We're expanding it both in engineering and sales. We're also doing it worldwide, not just in the U.S. There's a number of very, very interesting deals being negotiated. They're on an integration schedule of about three months from now, so every week there are more milestones, and they're working very hard. It's very exciting. 

Exciting, perhaps, but apparently not on schedule.

Following Schmidt’s dMarc commentary, Google released a PR story in July about one “excited” tester of Google’s dMarc service (see “Google AdSense for Radio: Google diversification win?”).


I asked Google on October 31, point-blank: 

What is the exact status of the dMarc integration? When will Google dMarc ads be heard on radios (not simply test ads)? 

Michael Mayzel, Google Corporate Communications, told me:

We are planning on releasing a beta version of Google Audio Ads by the end of the year. 

In “Google failing to snag $116 billion print, radio, television ad markets” I ask:

How can Google revolutionize the decades old radio industry via a legacy radio advertising company?

I asked a long-time radio industry insider, and now Google dMarc competitor, the same question last week, as I report in “SWMX Radio vs. Google? SWMX COO talks ‘The Real Deal’ in exclusive interview

Bill Figenshu, Chief Operating Officer, SoftWave Media Exchange Inc. (SWMX), spoke with me exclusively about how Google may operate in the radio advertising market and about possible Google dMarc investments and alliances: 

Putting 100 high profile (and VERY HIGH PAID)  sales people in itself will not have much impact if they don't have stations to advertise on. Sales people need something to sell. It's all about distribution… 

Unlike SWMX with is an on line "opt-in" platform. Google requires a "box" in the station to deliver commercials.  If you were a station manager, would you allow Clear Channel/Google to place equipment into your station? We think not…

If Google buys millions in advertising time on Clear Channel stations, it will be a bit messy.   - Other broadcasters would react. Can they buy every broadcaster's inventory? (gosh, don't answer that!) - Will CCU exclude current accounts? Will Google sales people call on the SAME agencies as CCU? - Would they sell the inventory for less than CCU is selling it for? - What about their national rep firm Katz? Radio network Premiere? or the Profit System. (all owned by CCU). 

Figenshu's questions underscore the high-stakes radio gamble Google is embarking upon as I point out in: “Google $20 billion Audio Ads: Not a radio test!”

Contrary to Google's latest stab at trying to place ads in print media (see Google’s $48 billion Print Ads test: Fourth time’s the charm?), Google can not afford to "fail" three times in its designs on the $20 billion radio advertising market; Google has already invested more than $100 million.

Google: Radio star, or bit player? We will, apparently, soon find out.


ALSO: "Do Google $$$ billion acquisitions kill competition?"

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