The programmatic audio wars are on.
IHeartMedia — the broadcast radio giant that is looking to reposition itself as a streaming audio giant — has acquired the programmatic audio platform Jelli. Jelli had been powering iHeartMedia’s SoundPoint programmatic platform.
Jelli will be run as an independent subsidiary of iHeartMedia, based in Silicon Valley.
Jelli’s platform allows for programmatic buying and selling of broadcast radio, and iHeartMedia says the acquisition will allow the company to create a digital-compatible buying platform with “targeting and creative optimization based on data and attribution tools compatible with the offerings of the major digital players.”
The Jelli acquisition comes just a few months after the streaming music service Pandora acquired the programmatic audio platform AdsWizz. Subsequently, the satellite radio company SiriusXM announced a deal to buy Pandora.
Both the Pandora deals and the iHeartMedia deal highlight the desire among audio companies to bulk up to fight tech-driven competitors, like Spotify and Apple.
IHeartMedia is the leading broadcast radio company, and SiriusXM is the leading satellite radio company, but both are still building out their digital businesses. Programmatic audio is seen as a vital component of that future.
“Jelli allows us to do something no other company can do — advertisers can now buy and use our broadcast assets, reach and impact just as they use the major digital players. We now offer heavy data and heavy creative innovation all in one place,” stated Bob Pittman, chairman-CEO, iHeartMedia.
He says the acquisition will "lead our aggressive and innovative ad tech development.”
IHeartMedia also noted that Expressway from Katz, a programmatic buy-side platform powered by Jelli, will remain independently run by Katz, although it will continue to utilize Jelli’s technology.