Camels, Geico, and another shakeup in radio

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Camels, Geico, and another shakeup in radio ad buying

AdAge pointed out that Katz Radio Group is starting to sell radio spots on its programmatic exchange, with Geico making the first buy this week. Katz sells ad space on behalf of radio networks like CBS, Cumulus, Entercom, iHeartMedia and Cox Media Group, among others. It represents more than 3,000 radio stations.

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“Expressway from Katz,” is designed to make radio more attractive to media buyers and advertisers and easier to buy, according to Katz Radio CEO Mark Rosenthal, who hopes the exchange will drive more dollars into radio. It does not include real-time bidding and is focused on automating the buying process and improving the efficiency of radio buying. There are plans to layer in data to allow advertisers to better target listeners.

McKay Advertising + Activation president and founder Bob McKay has pointed out that through Jelli — a programmatic buying platform — iHeart Media is probably a few months away from being able to use real time bidding to sell radio ads. iHeartMedia is the parent company of Katz also announced a programmatic exchange in April that will automate sales for ad inventory across its 850 stations.

“Initially, and not insignificantly for radio, it’s about automating a process that’s extremely labor intensive and can get in the way of buying,” Rosenthal said. What makes the exchange interesting for advertisers is the sheer number of radio networks Katz represents, said Lauren Russo, senior VP-managing director, audio and promotions, Horizon Media, which bought the spot for Geico.

“This brings a greater accountability and transparency to radio, real-time monitoring and streamlines the process,” Ms. Russo said. It also provides the opportunity to optimize buys and achieve a greater return on investment, she added. Katz isn’t the only one attempting to bring programmatic selling to radio. WideOrbit and Marketron are also experimenting with programmatic exchanges.

Expressway from Katz remains in the pilot stage with plans for a full roll-out in early 2016.

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