CBS Radio raised the curtain on its new Web radio and ad platform recently after several months of testing. The system aggregates all the broadcaster’s stations into one player, allowing for contextual, demographic, geographic, and other forms of ad targeting across 140 CBS stations. Once implemented, a deal signed with AOL in March will extend the reach of the network further, adding more than 200 stations to the mix. In addition to in-stream audio spots, advertisers can run display ads and video pre-rolls within the new player.
David Goodman is CBS Radio’s president of digital media and integrated marketing. He took some time this week to fill in ClickZ News on details of the new strategy.
Q. What’s new about what CBS is offering through the new ad platform?
A. For the first time ever, we are able to pair audio content with contextual advertising. For example, as the sports scores are playing on WFAN, we have the ability to ensure that the latest specials from Modell’s run on the media player. Or, as breaking news such as a severe weather storm occurs, All State Insurance will have their advertising displayed. Additionally, the new platform aggregates all of our stations into one central player, which allows us to move people around the network seamlessly. The repercussions of this ability impact our advertisers, as it allows us to harness the network’s critical mass around our clients’ promotions and campaigns.
Q. What advertisers are using the new ad platform?
A. We have seamlessly integrated all of our existing clients onto the new platform. As a result everyone from the top 100 brands to local mom-and-pop stores are running on the platform as we speak. Additionally, we are in talks with significant brands to be the first to utilize the contextual ad serving technology in-stream.
Q. How long has it been available?
A. We launched a quiet beta in January and have been pleased with the stability since. We are now rolling out steady improvements on a weekly basis. The platform will double in size in June when we execute our recent deal with AOL to add all of their stations.
Q. Was it built in-house?
A. The platform was built mostly in-house; we reached out to several best-in-class outside groups for programming expertise and client feedback to ensure we were on the right track. Particularly, a significant amount of the development work was done by the Wilshire Media Group in LA.
Q. How much ad inventory is available through the platform in terms of ad impressions?
A. With the addition of the AOL stations in June, the platform will deliver over a billion audio impressions on a monthly basis. Additionally, player display media will deliver another 700 million or so impressions. As you can see, as the number one Internet radio broadcaster in the world, we now have the critical mass that is so crucial for advertisers to adopt emerging platforms.
Q. How many affiliates are using the platform?
A. Currently all 140 CBS Radio stations are on the platform. In June we will add another 200-plus AOL stations. Additionally, we have many multiplex and Internet-only channels on the platform. Collectively, the total will be over 400 channels of audio available on the platform. Everything you can imagine is available from the greatest jazz of all time to the latest in underground dance.
Q. Is this intended for local and national advertisers?
A. The platform is intended for every level of advertiser. We worked hard to ensure there were distinct benefits regardless of advertiser size. With the help from a company we helped create, TargetSpot, we are able to serve hyper-localized campaigns, and through our multiple levels of account management we are able to serve network-wide campaigns just as easily. Big or small, the platform works for advertisers.
Q. Who’s selling ads running in the platform?
A. In a massive educational effort, we have trained all of our 2,000-plus local sales people to sell across the platform. Additionally, we have enlisted the help of Ronning Lipset, our digital rep firm. Also, clients can continue to gain access to the network through our over-the-air rep firm, Interep, and our integrated marketing department, Altitude Group.
Q. What types of targeting are available?
A. The platform allows us to target in a myriad of ways, including all the traditional ways radio is targeted across format, demographic and lifestyle. But now we are also able to target by niche vertical, zipcode location, DMA and more. Essentially if they are out there, we can reach them without any waste.
Q. What’s planned for the future in regards to this?
A. Building this platform is really just the beginning. Now that we have all of our assets on one central platform we have the ability to gain truly ubiquitous distribution. Since we are committed to having zero barriers to access our content, look for the platform to not only expand in size, but also look for the content to be available across a myriad of platforms, from being distributed across social networks to any type of Internet-connected hardware device. Additionally, soon we are going to launch Play.It out of its private beta, allowing users to create their own stations with access to any CBS content or any musical preference. These stations will enjoy similar distribution to any CBS station.
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