Google to Exit Radio, Explore Streaming Audio Ads

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-02-12
 
 
 

Google announced in a Feb. 12 blog posting that it was closing down its Google Audio Ads and AdSense for Audio projects and selling its Google Radio Automation business, in order to focus on delivering ads for online streaming audio.

Google's exit from the broadcast radio business comes almost three years to the day after the search giant purchased digital radio specialist company dMarc Broadcasting as a platform for radio expansion.

The company's broadcast radio products, which helped advertisers target listener demographics and streamlined the buying and selling of radio ads, "haven't had the impact we hoped for," according to Google Vice President of Product Management Susan Wojcicki, who wrote about the decision in a corporate blog posting.

"Instead we will use our technology to develop Internet-based solutions that will deliver relevant ads for online streaming audio," Wojcicki wrote. "We are dedicating a team of people at Google to explore how we can best add value for advertisers, broadcasters and listeners in this emerging advertising space."

The elimination of broadcast radio solutions will result in the layoffs of up to 40 Google staffers, according to the company.

Google will also continue its expanding commitment to the TV advertising business, started in May 2008 to help advertisers make better TV ad buys.

The shift away from well-established broadcast radio to the more nascent online streaming audio could mean that Google is casting an eye toward the long-term future.

"If you make an early bet, and it's a good one, you're set for life-or at least a few years," Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research, said in an interview. "The question for Google is: Is it better to put your money on a horse that everyone recognizes and ride it for a few years, or take that money and put a bet on an up-and-comer? It seems like they're doing the latter."

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