THE GOOGLEPLEX (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Is Google pondering purchasing Clear Channel? That's what some industry analysts are speculating about. According to Radioandrecords.com, Google has been snapping up top shelf radio sales specialists in a number of high profile markets such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. As many as one hundred have been retained thus far and their salary packages have reportedly been markedly larger than a similar position with a radio station might offer. With no real radio outlets for these salespeople to sell advertising for, it begs the question as to what Google's intentions may be.
David Bank, a media analyst with RBC Capital Markets believes that Google is ramping up to "storm the beaches" as it were. Google acquired dMarc, a radio advertising company which provides an automated advertising system to radio broadcasters. According to Bank, Clear Channel may be of interest to Google.
So far, Google's efforts to penetrate non-internet broadcasting has been limited. "Clear Channel would be the most likely candidate." Bank told Radioandrecords.com, noting that Clear Channel "has been the most consistently willing to implement both dramatically novel (and disruptive) sales strategies such as Less Is More, and dramatic innovations on the technology side. Given it’s current exploration of strategic alternatives we could see this playing out potentially through Google making a modest investment in CCU (either in a Leveraged Buy Out, or simply in CCU’s current incarnation) to help secure access to inventory."
Local radio advertising is a business that pulled in about $16 billion in revenue in 2005, which might be too tempting a target for Google to resist. Radio isn't the only ad channel they've been looking into. Google has also been experimenting with placing spots for advertisers in offline publications like newspapers and magazines, most notably, the Chicago Sun-Times, filling space that would have been used by the paper for "In house" ads. Google is banking on its ability to precisely target niche market demographics to make this viable.
With Google's recent acquisition of Youtube, Google is quickly becoming a major player in forms of media distribution, the acquisitions are the easy part however, coordinated leveraging these channels into profit will be the real challenge for Google. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers