TargetSpot Buys Ronning Lipset Radio

Andy Lipset of Ronning LipsetTwo leading companies in Internet radio advertising are now one: TargetSpot has acquired Ronning Lipset Radio, creating the country's largest online radio ad network. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ronning Lipset's founders, Eric Ronning and Andy Lipset, will stay on with TargetSpot as co-presidents of sales.

Altogether, the combined network boasts 50 partnerships with over 1,000 online radio stations, including the Web portals of traditional radio stations. It reaches more than 6 million listeners a week. Among the merged network's partners are CBS Radio, Entercom, Yahoo, AOL and Live 365.

The deal brings together two companies with varied expertise in Internet radio advertising, which they hope will prove complementary.

For its part, TargetSpot has developed an extensive platform for online ad creation, targeting and delivery, while Ronning Lipset has built a sales team with relationships covering a range of radio broadcasters and advertisers.



TargetSpot CEO Doug Perlson remarked: "With TargetSpot's technology and Ronning Lipset's sales expertise, we look forward to providing... the strongest monetization possible for Internet radio businesses."

Monetization remains a key concern for Internet radio. While awareness of the medium is growing--Arbitron says 50 million people listen to Internet radio every month--it still contributes less than 10% of the radio industry's total revenues. In the second quarter, "off-air" revenues--including Internet radio--grew 10% to $501 million, compared to the same period in 2007, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. However, that's just 9% of the total $5.36 billion in second-quarter revenues.

This tally is especially troubling because many traditional radio broadcasters are counting on growing Internet ad revenues to offset declines on the broadcast side. Through August, total radio revenues have declined for 15 months straight.


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