Yahoo to Move Launchcast to CBS Radio Ad Platform

After launching its enhanced online radio and ad platform in beta nearly a year ago, CBS Radio has signed on another big-name content partner. Yahoo is the latest to agree to move its streaming audio service over to the CBS platform, following a similar deal signed earlier this year with AOL. The relationship gives CBS more streaming audio inventory to sell, while Yahoo Launchcast advertisers will now reach bigger audiences through CBS Radio’s growing network.

CBS will takeover ad sales for all 150 Launchcast stations in mid-February, combining them with its current roster, which currently encompasses around 400 including AOL-owned stations. Advertisers will be able to buy across all three owners or separately. All sites will operate on the CBS Radio platform.

“Probably three or four months from now, when we launch [Yahoo], we’ll be close to 400,000 concurrent listeners,” said CBS Radio President of Digital Media and Integrated Marketing David Goodman, explaining that concurrent listeners refer to the number of people listening for a 15-minute time span.

The system allows advertisers to run national campaigns throughout the entire network, or localize campaigns down to a Zip code level. In addition to in-stream audio spots, advertisers can run display ads and video pre-rolls within the player. Ads are targeted across format, demographic, lifestyle, Zip code, and DMA. Advertisers can also target contextually. For instance, a sporting goods retailer might promote the latest specials while a score update streams on a sports talk station.

According to Goodman, recent CBS Radio advertisers include national brands such as Fox, NBC, E-Trade, Kohl’s, and local advertisers like auto dealers and small retailers.

While many streaming audio firms rely on national advertising, CBS Radio has local feet on the street. The company has around 2,000 local sales people. Its local sales operation “has been clearly one of the differentiators between us and pure-play Internet radio companies,” added Goodman. Only about a quarter of the firm’s advertisers are national, and the rest are local.

There’s already a connection between Yahoo and CBS Radio in digital rep firm Ronning Lipset, which previously sold Launchcast’s local ads. Ronning Lipset is owned by CBS-funded streaming media targeting firm TargetSpot.

Although CBS Radio, possibly in conjunction with Ronning Lipset, will now handle Launchcast’s national ad sales, the relationship does not affect Yahoo’s sales team. According to a Yahoo spokesperson, multiple salespeople have sold Launchcast’s national advertising; there was no dedicated national Launchcast sales team at Yahoo.

CBS Radio has emphasized development of its streaming audio and ad platform. “We made a huge commitment from a content perspective, a technology perspective, as well as having a clear monetization strategy,” said Goodman.

As part of the relationship, CBS Radio players will be added to Yahoo Music, News, and Sports sites where users will have access to CBS news and talk stations such as New York’s WFAN and LA’s KNX-AM.

Expect similar deals down the road from CBS Radio. As Goodman noted, selling the platform for use by other media firms “was part of the core to what we were building.”

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