Jelli Ring: iHeart Acquires Programmatic Player


Two months ago, the radio industry’s biggest owner and operator of AMs and FMs agreed to acquire a podcast content publisher known for the HowStuffWorks (HSW) brand and other on-demand digitally delivered offerings.

Now, it is purchasing the tech company that powers its SoundPoint programmatic platform.

Now an iHeartMedia-owned operation, as is non-station entities including Media Monitors and industry news and company PR blog Inside Radio, is Jelli, Inc.

The Jelli platform used for programmatic buying and selling of broadcast radio, and iHeart says the deal will enable it “to further leverage Jelli’s assets to continue to create for brands a digital-compatible buying platform for broadcast radio that includes targeting and creative optimization based on data and attribution tools compatible with the offerings of the major digital players.”

With the acquisition, programmatic buying ad exchange Expressway from Katz will continue to remain independently run by Katz, now powered by Jelli.

Jelli President/CEO Michael Dougherty and his team remain in place and will continue to be based in Silicon Valley. As such, Jelli becomes iHeartMedia’s primary ad technology operation.

SoundPoint was launched in 2015 for programmatic and automated ad buying needs, giving advertisers and agencies the power to leverage iHeartMedia’s broadcast stations through both its radio and digital platforms.

Brian Kaminsky, President of SmartAudio and iHeartMedia’s analytics group, says, “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. We have been excited by the advances we made with Jelli as our partner and the acceptance from our advertising partners.”

Fresh from his appearance Wednesday (11/14) at Forecast 2019 in New York, iHeartMedia Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman said, “At iHeart we believe marketing is both math and magic. The math is our rich data and insights about our users and how they relate to our partners’ products and services. The magic is the incredible creative ideas we bring to our partners, such as our 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.”

Jelli created a cloud-based platform to support and improve the audio ecosystem, making it easier and faster to buy and run audio advertising. Current offerings include programmatic platform RadioSpot, and SpotPlan, a programmatic platform for iHeartMedia and Expressway from Katz.

— Adam R Jacobson, from New York