Making Way for the Talkies: Can Google Hit a High Note with Radio Advertising?

- February 14, 2007

Typically when we speak of media and technology we talk about new kinds of media replacing older ones. Like electronic downloads are replacing CDs, which replaced cassette tapes, which replaced 8-tracks. So do we think the Internet will replace traditional print, television, and audio media or at least transform them until they are each a subsidiary of the larger Online world? Given the recent behavior of some of the major Internet players, however, that predictable forward motion of media transformation may not be steadfast any longer; Internet companies are increasingly vying for in-roads to traditional media outlets.

Through acquisitions and independent initiatives, Google continues to expand into more traditional media advertising outlets beyond the Internet. According to a recent New York Times article, however, the company is facing radio industry resistance over its Google Audio endeavors. After investing over $1 billion in dMarc and its automated radio-advertising software in 2006, Google is still, a year later, struggling to procure premium ad space inventory. This struggle has been further compounded by the recent departure of dMarc’s two founders.

Unlike its forays into print advertising, Google’s radio advertising program, as of yet, has not included a partnership or licensing deal with a media outlet large enough to widen its advertising scope beyond remnant time slots. Without access to premium air time or being able to offer advertisers the ability to select and target specific stations and listener demographics, Google Audio is lagging behind the company’s print advertising efforts. That could change for the better, however, if negotiations with CBS, or a similarly influential partner, pan out.

While industry analysts point to the stiff competition of automated radio advertising, it’s clear that Google’s media presence and brand equity set it apart as a formidable competitor in the radio advertising industry and it’s only a matter of time before it secures a foothold in this new (old) medium.

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