Google announced Tuesday that it has acquired privately held radio advertising firm dMarc Broadcasting Inc. in a deal that could be worth up to $1.24 billion, including an initial payment of $102 million, writes Reuters. dMarc connects advertisers to radio stations through an automated advertising system that simplifies the selling, scheduling and delivering ads, said Google, which plans to integrate dMarc technology into AdWords, creating a radio ad distribution channel.
"Google is committed to exploring new ways to extend targeted, measurable advertising to other forms of media," said Tim Armstrong, vice-president of Advertising Sales, Google.
Wade Roush at MIT points to an "intriguing possibility" having to do with contextual ads (which dMarc doesn't do): "Perhaps Google is working on technology that would 'listen' to the word-stream in a radio program, parse its meaning, and insert ads related to those subjects…. And if such a system works for radio, what's to stop Google from entering the TV advertising market, or even outdoor advertising? If there's a context to work with, the distribution of any ad can be tailored."
"This is the first major 'public' statement that Google intends to be a kind of one-stop shop for its advertisers," Kelsey Group analyst Greg Sterling wrote on his blog, adding that after radio could come TV - and pointed to the example of Spot Runner, a local cable TV buying service.
As Google expands into other media, it will be seen as more of a competitor with advertising agencies, cautioned Martin Pyykkonen, a financial analyst with Hoefer & Arnett.