iHeartMedia Will Acquire Jelli to Boost Its Programmatic Audio Advertising

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What bankruptcy?  iHeartMedia is doubling-down on audio ad-tech with a Jelli acquisition.

Today, the company announced that it would acquire Jelli Inc. The small tech startup is responsible for iHeartMedia’s SoundPoint programmatic platform, which enables the automatic, targeted buying and selling of ads on broadcasted radio.  Jelli will become iHeartMedia’s primary ad tech operation.

The ‘Expressway from Katz,’ which is an ad-buying exchange for the industry powered by Jelli’s technology, will remain independently run by Katz.

Jelli’s technology has allowed iHeartMedia to target listeners individually for ‘tailored advertising’.  According to the companies, tailored advertising is something that was not possible before SoundPoint programmatic platform was created in 2015.  Brian Kaminsky, president of SmartAudio and Analytics for iHeartMedia, says the acquisition helps the radio giant compete with giants like Facebook and Google.

“Facebook and Google pioneered a new way for advertisers to interface with media partners to improve targetability, the ease of buying and measurement of results, and our programmatic platform puts us in the position to participate in the modern data-driven ecosystem for our broadcast radio audience as well as our digital audiences,” Kaminsky relayed.

This isn’t an isolated acquisition for iHeartMedia. In September, the company acquired Stuff Media, a podcasting network with popular shows like Stuff You Should Know and Atalanta Monster.

Meanwhile, the situation at iHeartMedia remains a bit rocky.

The company’s most recent Q3 results showed revenues are up 1.6% compared to the same period last year.  However, total revenues for the company in 2018 are still down compared to last year for the recently-bankrupted enterprise.

As part of a deal with shareholders to exit bankruptcy, the iHeartMedia management team saw a shake-up in its board of directors.  Several new members of the executive team previously worked for companies like Disney, Goldman Sachs, and MGM.  Now, the question is whether those captains can patch this vessel and steer it towards safety.

iHeartMedia manages more than 850 radio stations across the United States.  Recent rumors suggested the company may be looking to work with Apple to leverage its Beats 1 Radio, but nothing concrete has surfaced.