CBS Creates Unit for Digital Music Properties

CBS is pulling all its digital radio assets into a single unit, called CBS Interactive Music Group, potentially opening the door for far-reaching sponsorships across a variety of platforms.

CBS owns more than 100 music Web sites and online audio streams, as well as Last.fm, a music-recommendation service that it bought last year for $280 million. The company claims a total monthly reach of more than 40 million unique users worldwide at launch.

David Goodman, who has been with CBS Radio since 2002, has been named president of the new group. He said that the new structure wouldn’t change how CBS Radio sells its local ads, but that it would now be able to take advantage of CBS Interactive’s national ad-sales team.

“It’s business as usual in terms of sales structure over at CBS Radio,” he said. “In terms of CBS Interactive, we’ll be working with their folks to sell the national inventory.”

Goodman said integration of the CBS multiple radio assets would create new opportunities for advertisers looking for maximum scale and reach.

“We will be offering more reach and deeper engagement,” he said. “We can now facilitate the needs and the interests of all advertisers who are interesting in targeting people who want to be associated with a music-oriented lifestyle.”

Goodman will continue to report to Neil Ashe, president of CBS Interactive, which also includes CNET, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, and TV.com. Goodman said it is still unclear whether the size and structure of CBS’ Radio’s or CBS Interactive’s direct sales staff would change as a result of the shift. “We’re going to be putting that together now,” he said.

Bringing Last.fm under the same umbrella as CBS’ radio and streaming music units will also allow the company to further integrate Last.fm’s technology. That site recommends music to fans based on their listening history and boasts partnerships with Universal, EMI, Sony BMG, and many independent labels and artists.

“We now have the ability to touch people in a variety of different ways and with a variety of different sets of experiences, all of which are good for our advertisers,” Goodman said.

Earlier this year, Google said it was killing its terrestrial radio ad offering; it hadn’t entered the in-stream radio sector.

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