Google, Clear Channel Team in Radio Ad Pact

Google has struck a deal with Clear Channel Communications to sell 30-second audio ads on its AM and FM radio stations, reinforcing Google's advertising sales business beyond the Web.

The deal, announced on Monday, comes two weeks after Google announced that it will sell slots on EchoStar Communications digital satellite television service. It also comes several days after Google announced it agreed to buy DoubleClick for US$3.1 billion in cash. DoubleClick's advertiser network is expected to strengthen Google's ad business.

The Clear Channel deal will give Google access to a guaranteed proportion of the 30-second slots on the 675 Clear Channel stations covered by the deal. Clear Channel and Google also announced plans to link their respective advertising sales systems, Viero and AdSense for Audio.

Google's move into radio was signaled in January 2006 when it bought dMarc Broadcasting, the Newport Beach, Calif., developer of an automated advertising platform for the broadcast industry. It waited until December to unveil its plans for dMarc, saying it had spent the year forming partnerships with U.S. terrestrial and satellite radio stations to give advertisers involved in the beta trial hundreds of stations to choose from.

Advertisers using AdSense for Audio will be able to target messages by audience segment, geography, day of the week or time of day using Google's audio ads service.

The deal gives Google an economic incentive to produce higher revenue from the slots, Clear Channel said. Neither company offered further financial details of the deal.

The additional sales channel will give Clear Channel access to new customers. Google will sell commodity slots of a standard length, while Clear Channel's own sales staff will focus on customers requiring special formats, a service the company has been developing recently to increase its revenue per minute.

The companies already have an existing advertising sales relationship, in which Google sells text ads on the websites of Clear Channel's radio stations.

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