Internet radio advertising just got a little more competitive. That's because TargetSpot is acquiring Ronning Lipset Radio, and together the merged company will boast a network of more than 50 partnerships with more than 1,000 stations reaching more than six million listeners a week.
Those network partners include the top tier of Internet radio, from large terrestrial broadcasters like CBS Radio and Entercom to mammoth Internet pure-play properties like Yahoo, AOL and Live 365. The hottest independent stations such as Big R Radio, 181.fm and 1club.fm are also in the mix.
TargetSpot CEO Doug Perlson is betting the combination of his company's technology with Ronning Lipset's sales force will drive better solutions for advertisers and stronger monetization possibilities for Internet radio companies.
"Ronning Lipset Radio was the first company to recognize the untapped value and immense opportunities presented by Internet radio advertising," Perlson said. "They have generated more revenue for the online radio industry than any other third-party rep firm and have accounted for close to 14 billion audio-player impressions sold since the company's inception."
An Internet Radio Explosion
Over the past five years, Internet radio has posted explosive growth on both the listener side and the advertiser side. According to Arbitron Edison's Infinite Dial 2008 Study, more than 50 million people in the United States currently listen to Internet radio every month. That number is expected to double over the next several years. With this acquisition, TargetSpot intends to leverage that growth in new ways.
"The online radio audience is exploding, and our combined platform is now clearly unsurpassed in the industry," said Andy Lipst, cofounder of Ronning Lipset. "Ronning Lipset and TargetSpot have been complimentary leaders and innovators in the space and combined are poised for explosive growth. We aim to be able to meet every advertiser's needs and continue to be the leader in driving revenue for Internet radio broadcasters."
TargetSpot now boasts what it considers the most experienced sales team in Internet radio, alongside technology that allows direct access to ad creation, transparent campaign creation, hyper geo and demographic targeting and real-time reporting for advertisers. The combined company is targeting large national radio advertisers, interactive advertisers, local businesses, and first-time audio advertisers.
TargetSpot has opened doors for advertisers looking for new avenues to pursue effective marketing campaigns and has captured the attention, and more importantly, the business of big and small advertisers alike, according to Eric Ronning, cofounder of Ronning Lipset.
"At a time of economic uncertainty, radio has always fared well as an advertising option," he said. "Using TargetSpot technology, online radio with its unique ability to reach, engage and report, will also be a primary part of advertiser's investments when they need to know that every dollar they spend is one that will be well spent."
With mobile advertising promising to become a huge opportunity, Perlson noted that TargetSpot is also well positioned to lead the charge into this burgeoning field. Streaming radio applications for mobile devices are proving enormously popular, he said, and TargetSpot intends to be the leader in monetizing these mobile streams.
"We are big believers that audio advertising will prove to be the single most effective way to reach someone using a mobile connected device," Perlson said, "and our mobile audio advertising solutions will open up this exciting new base for advertisers and broadcasters alike by the end of the year."