Google Quits Radio Business

NEW YORK Google is ending its effort to broker the sale of radio ads. The move follows its decision last month to end a similar program with newspapers.
In a blog post, Google vp of product management Susan Wojcicki said the company would cease its program that allows advertisers to buy broadcast radio spots through its Google Audio Ads platform and concentrate instead on Internet radio advertising. As part of the move, Google is laying off 40 people, she wrote. The company will stop handling radio ads May 31.

“We have always accepted that if you take risks not all of them will pay off,” wrote Wojcicki. “Deciding to close products is never easy, but we will continue to focus on advertising products that provide measurability for advertisers, and are relevant and useful for users, listeners and viewers.”
The closure is an admission of a serious misstep Google made in acquiring dMarc, a radio-buying platform, in January 2006. The company paid $102 million in cash upfront and offered the owners up to $1.2 billion in performance incentives.
Yet, like other tech acquisitions by Google, dMarc never panned out. It struck deals for inventory with Clear Channel and Emmis Communications. Still, Google struggled to get radio stations in prime markets to install dMarc’s system. Radio groups never developed trust in Google.
Google also struggled to make radio advertisers comfortable with its system of choosing placements based on demographics rather than stations.

The founders of dMarc, Chad and Ryan Steelberg, left Google in 2007.
Google will use the technology for Google Audio Ads to focus on streaming audio placements, Wojcicki wrote.
“We are dedicating a team of people at Google to explore how we can best add value for advertisers, broadcasters and listeners in this emerging advertising space,” she wrote.
The move follows last month’s decision by the company to kill off its Google Print Ads service, an effort to extend the company’s ad system to newspapers.

Google remains committed to its efforts to broker TV ads, Wojcicki wrote.