WideOrbit to launch new programmatic market for radio

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Media software company WideOrbit will announce on Tuesday the launch of WO Programmatic Radio, a new marketplace for automated selling of radio ad inventory. The new platform matches buyers to radio sellers using the WO Traffic sales and traffic service.

Entravision Communications is the launch partner for WO Programmatic Radio. Additionally, Entercom, Radio One, and other undisclosed WideOrbit customers have committed to joining the platform as the marketplace expands.

In giving RAIN News advance notice of the announcement, WideOrbit identified three key differentiators that will appeal to broadcasters:

  • Revenue Growth: The seller has a degree of control within the automated platform, and can evaluate the offer price before accepting. This gives radio stations a chance to compare an offer to other channels and to their historic pricing. This feature seems designed to address industry caution about programmatic, specifically fear that automated selling might pull down prices.
  • Inventory Control: There is no requirement to dedicate inventory exclusively to the platform (WideOrbit calls that “carving out”), which solves the concern of committing inventory to a future transaction without knowing the price.
  • Workflow Integration: There is an apparent seamless integration with the existing traffic control software, WO Traffic, so stations using that platform can receive advertiser offers on a familiar screen and system.

Jeffery Liberman, COO of launch partner Entravision, emphasize the potential for additive revenue, rather than merely churning revenue into a new channel. “We are especially pleased that WO Programmatic Radio allows our station general managers to compare programmatic offers with their other sold business,” Libermen said. “This will help us guarantee that our programmatic sales channel is driving new revenue to our stations.”

From future user Entercom, CIO and VP of Information Technology John Graefe voiced optimism for programmatic radio sales generally: “There’s no question that programmatic will become an important revenue channel for radio. WO Programmatic Radio’s integration with our traffic system will make it incredibly simple for our stations to start taking advantage of this new revenue stream.”

WideOrbit’s pitch to advertisers will be a one-stop location for buying across many stations. To accelerate demand for this new marketplace, the company intends to partner with Demand Side Platforms (DSPs), a WideOrbit spokesperson told RAIN News. Those platforms can funnel their buy-side clients to WO Programmatic Radio for radio inventory at scale across local boundaries which normally silo the market. WideOrbit believes that the fragmented radio market creates a severe buying inefficiency and prevents radio inventory from being properly valued.

“The ability to buy radio advertising programmatically is expected to attract agencies that also purchase digital media because they can leverage the largest mass medium to extend reach and frequency; carefully target audiences with first-party data; and dramatically reduce the operational costs associated with purchasing radio at scale,” according to the forthcoming announcement.

WideOrbit serves a radio customer portfolio of 22 radio groups, and hs an existing programmatic sales product for its television clients, called WO Programmatic TV.

Brad Hill