iHeartMedia acquires Jelli

iHeartMedia announced that it has acquired Jelli, a specialist in programmatic audio advertising for radio and the creator of the SpotPlan platform. Jelli’s technology has been pivotal as audio moves toward programmatic buying and selling. Its work has been especially relevant to the broadcast industry.

Under the terms of the deal, the acquisition will allow iHeartMedia to further leverage Jelli’s assets to create digital-compatible buying platforms for broadcast radio. Jelli will continue to be led by Michael Dougherty, its president, CEO, and co-founder. It will operate as a company within iHeartMedia from its current base in Silicon Valley, and it will be the primary ad technology operation for the media conglomerate. Expressway from Katz, another major programmatic platform for broadcast, will continue to be independently run by Katz and powered by Jelli. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

iHeartMedia and Jelli had an existing business relationship. iHeartMedia had been using Jelli to power its SoundPoint programmatic solution for programmatic and automated ad selling for its broadcast stations since April 2015. In September, iHeartMedia also collaborated with Jelli and Foursquare for a broadcast radio attribution product.

“At iHeart we believe marketing is both math and magic,” iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said. :The math is our rich data and insights about our users and how they relate to our partners’ products and services — and the magic is the incredible creative ideas we bring to our partners, such as our iconic music events, award shows, influencers, podcasts, social reach and our unique on air promotions. 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. We are excited about having Jelli not only for the platforms they are creating and have created for us, but also to lead our aggressive and innovative ad tech development.”

“By pairing iHeartMedia’s reach and multiplatform assets with our cloud-based advertising technology, we are positioned to provide a single platform for advertisers to reach all audiences, no matter where they are consuming audio,” Jelli Co-founder and CEO Michael Dougherty said. “As audio consumption continues to explode, we are thrilled to be joining the iHeartMedia team, accelerating Jelli’s mission of transforming audio advertising through technology innovation.”

“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,” said Brian Kaminsky, president of the SmartAudio and Analytics Group at iHeartMedia. “We have been excited by the advances we made with Jelli as our partner and the acceptance from our advertising partners.”

Anna Washenko