Robert Freeman's whole Media, Business and Technology thing. Sorted.

Google drops old media ad sales

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No print, no radio. Is new media solely where the money is?

Google said its move into print and radio ads would perk up media sales. It hasn’t happened.

In fact with the closure first of their print ad business, and now radio ad sales, Google leaves the market in a much worse state than it found it.

(Perhaps WSJ Managing Editor Robert Thomson was right when he suggested that Google ‘devalues everything it touches’?)

TV ads still seem to be on the radar, but Business Week explains why this plan might similarly struggle.

Up till three weeks ago there was speculation that Google would hang onto radio sales.

Google bought the radio automation company dMarc three years ago, agreeing a total price of over a billion US dollars, although only $102m changed hands initially.

The idea was to sell  inventory quickly and easily with a much more detailed reporting structure, bringing new advertisers into a radio ad market which was already on the slide in the States.

Radio Business Report has some insight from a former dMarc customer:  The original pre-Google system, while selling ads more cheaply than they could themselves, was very effective.  But Google made changes to the sales method without consulting the station and revenues collapsed.

Is this just a simple development mistake? There seems to be value in these forms of selling, but only if the media owner and the advertiser can talk to one another.

Ironically, it seems as though in an online world where disintermediation is the mantra, and something Google has previously championed, the very thing which caused this failure was Google’s attempts to be the middleman.

But perhaps Google’s exit is a long-term strategic decision, rather than a short-term response to the current recession.

If so, what do they know about old media sales that we don’t?


Written by Robert

17 February, 2009 at 12:21 am

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