Commentary

WideOrbit Launches 'Programmatic' Radio Marketplace

WideOrbit, an ad management software firm and programmatic selling provider, on Tuesday announced the launch of a programmatic radio marketplace where advertisers can buy radio inventory through automation.

WideOrbit appears to be on a mission to automate as much of the “traditional” world as possible. Earlier this year, the company unveiled a programmatic TV marketplace.

Entravision Communications Corportation is WideOrbit’s launch partner for the new radio marketplace, per a release. Entercom Communications, Radio One and other WideOrbit clients are also participating.

Importantly, WideOrbit notes that its programmatic radio marketplace can be compared side-by-side with direct sales channels. “This will help ups guarantee that our programmatic sales channel is driving new revenue to our stations,” commented Jeffery Liberman, COO of Entravision, in a prepared statement.

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In a way, this is further evidence of the deconstruction of the waterfall -- the programmatic radio demand will not play second fiddle to direct-with-advertiser demand.

“There’s no question that programmatic will become an important revenue channel for radio,” stated John Graefe, CIO and vice president of information technology at Entercom.

There is no real-time bidding (RTB) on WideOrbit’s programmatic radio marketplace, and a fair amount of human catering is still required. Broadcasters will make their inventory available to buyers through the marketplace, and buyers can then use first-party data to target specific audiences.

Before the ad airs, however, the programmatic demand is still pooled with other demand sources, and the broadcaster can “review [programmatic] offers alongside existing business, listen to the ad copy, and decide if and when to accept offers.”

In other words, these ad buys are not guaranteed; it simply opens up a new stream of demand for broadcasters and allows advertisers to send more targeted messages -- at least in theory. Although, it likely won’t take long for some private marketplaces or “programmatic guaranteed” pipes to be put into place.

WideOrbit’s marketplace joins a similar marketplace launched by iHeartMedia earlier this year. iHeartMedia teamed with programmatic radio tech provider Jelli to power its exchange. Additionally, Marketron said earlier this year that has begun selling some radio inventory through programmatic as well.

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