iHeart Announces Plans to Acquire Programmatic Partner

Broadcaster wants to buy Jelli, have it operate as a separate division
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Even after recently emerging from Chapter 11, iHeartMedia is doubling down on programmatic.

The company announced Monday that it will acquire Jelli, a technology company with which the broadcaster has had a relationship for several years as both investor and client. Jelli is already a driving force behind iHeart’s SoundPoint platform, which launched in 2015.

“Advertisers can now buy and use our broadcast assets, reach and impact just as they use the major digital players,” iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said in the press release. “We now offer heavy data and heavy creative innovation all in one place.” He said iHeart acquired the company not only for platforms thit is creating but also “to lead our aggressive and innovative ad tech development.”

[Dynamic, custom creative from SmartAudio already enhances iHeart’s programmatic platform.]

According to the announcement, Jelli will operate as an independent “company with iHeartMedia,” and Jelli President/CEO/cofounder Michael Dougherty will continue to lead it. Although the press release says the “division will continue to be based in Silicon Valley,” the nebulous nature of the term makes it unclear whether the current San Mateo location will remain as Jelli’s HQ after it takes over as the company’s “primary ad technology operation.” However, broadcast radio programmatic ad exchange platform Expressway from Katz “will continue to remain independently run by Katz,” the company says.

[Jelli CEO hails his company’s programmatic progress.]

iHeartMedia President of SmartAudio and Analytics Group Brian Kaminsky also notes the move enable the company “to participate in the modern data driven ecosystem for our broadcast radio audience as well as our digital audiences.”

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