iHeartMedia Acquires Jelli

Jelli iHeartMediaiHeartMedia has announced its acquisition of programmatic ad platform Jelli.

Jelli was founded in 2009 as an on-air service to allow for crowdsourced selection of music to be played by a station at one time expanding to operate two stations 24/7 in Las Vegas. The programmatic ad service was launched 2012 with the company pivoting to focus completely on the RadioSpot ad tech in 2014. Jelli and iHeartMedia first partnered in 2015 to debut a programatic ad exchange run by iHeart’s Katz Media Group.

Jelli will continue to operate as a separate company within iHeartMedia overseen by President/CEO Michael Dougherty. The Jelli division will continue to be based in Silicon Valley and will become iHeartMedia’s primary ad technology operation.

iHeartMedia, the leading audio company in America which also has a greater reach in the U.S. than any other media outlet, today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Jelli, Inc., the technology company that powers its SoundPoint programmatic platform. The Jelli platform is the pioneering technology foundation for programmatic buying and selling of broadcast radio, and this acquisition will enable iHeartMedia 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. In addition, “Expressway from Katz,” the industry’s programmatic buying ad exchange for the country’s leading radio groups, will continue to remain independently run by Katz, powered by Jelli.

Broadcast radio is the #1 mass reach medium reaching 93 percent of the U.S. population and engaging consumers longer than even the largest digital platforms. While broadcast radio has the highest consumer engagement of any major medium, prior to the 2015 launch of SoundPoint — iHeartMedia’s groundbreaking programmatic and automated ad buying solution powered by Jelli — broadcast radio had lacked the targetability and real-time automated interface that digital offers. The SoundPoint platform allows advertisers and agencies to leverage iHeartMedia’s broadcast stations through both its radio and digital organizations, delivering both strong results and digital compatible analytics.

“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 SmartAudio® and Analytics Group for iHeartMedia. “We have been excited by the advances we made with Jelli as our partner and the acceptance from our advertising partners.”

“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 — 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,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. “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.”

Today, iHeartMedia’s suite of innovative marketing optimization tools include SoundPoint (programmatic real-time audio ad buying platform) powered by Jelli and SmartAudio®, which enables advertisers to do impression-based planning of data driven audience segments. Additionally, SmartAudio® offers dynamic ad creative that utilizes real-time triggers such as weather, pollen counts, sports scores, mortgage rates and more to deploy different campaign messages based on what is happening in a specific market at a specific moment. SmartAudio® has allowed brands to use broadcast radio ads to dynamically serve the most relevant message in each market, at each moment, just as they have done with digital campaigns to ensure increased relevance and impact.

“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,” said Michael Dougherty, co-founder and CEO of Jelli. “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.”

Over the past decade, Jelli has transformed radio broadcasting by creating the first cloud-based platform to support and improve the audio ecosystem, making it easier and faster to buy and run audio advertising. Their current offerings include RadioSpot, the only programmatic platform for radio broadcasters to sell and manage their advertising inventory and SpotPlan, the first and only programmatic platform for radio, delivering agencies and advertisers an automated way to efficiently plan and buy audio advertising and providing access to iHeartMedia as well as Expressway from Katz.

As part of the acquisition, Jelli will continue to operate as a company within iHeartMedia, Inc. led by President and CEO Michael Dougherty and his team. The Jelli division will continue to be based in Silicon Valley and will become iHeartMedia’s primary ad technology operation.

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