In case you think that radio is still one of the few media where you’re safe from surveillance, here is what Ray Schultz says in Can Radio Time Be Bought With Real-Time Bidding? iHeartMedia is Working On It:
HeartMedia hopes to offer real-time bidding for its 860+ radio stations in 160 markets, enabling media buyers to buy audio ads the way they now buy digital.
“We’re going to have the capabilities to do real-time bidding and programmatic on the broadcast side,” said Rich Bressler, president and COO of iHeart Media, during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference, according to Radio Insider.
Bressler did not offer specifics or a timeline. He added: “If you look at broadcasters in general, whether they’re video or audio, I don’t think anyone else is going to have those capabilities out there.”
“The ability, whenever it comes, would include data-infused buying, programmatic trading and attribution,” the report adds.
The Trade Desk lists iHeart Media as one of its programmatic audio partners.
Audio advertising allows users to integrate their brands into their audiences’ “everyday routines in a distraction-free environment, creating a uniquely personalized ad experience around their interests,” the Trade Desk says.
The Trade Desk “specializes in real-time programmatic marketing automation technologies, products, and services, designed to personalize digital content delivery to users.” Translation: surveillance-based and privacy-hostile ad targeting, which we’ve been hating in the online world at least since 2008.
But radio, one might think, is basically an offline medium. Most radio listening is to radios, not to computers or phones. Sure, some listening is online; but relatively speaking, not much. For example, here is the bottom of the current radio ratings for the San Francisco market:
Those numbers are fractions of one percent of total listening in the market. And the Bay Area is a very streaming-oriented market.
So how are iHeart and The Trade Desk going to personalize radio ads? Well, here is a meaningful excerpt from iHeart To Offer Real-Time Bidding For Its Broadcast Ad Inventory, which ran earlier this month at Inside Radio:
The biggest challenge at iHeartMedia isn’t attracting new listeners, it’s doing a better job monetizing the sprawling audience it already has. As part of ongoing efforts to sell advertising the way marketers want to transact, it now plans to bring real-time bidding to its 850 broadcast radio stations, top company management said Thursday.
“We’re going to have the capabilities to do real-time bidding and programmatic on the broadcast side,” President and COO Rich Bressler said during an appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference. “If you look at broadcasters in general, whether they’re video or audio, I don’t think anyone else is going to have those capabilities out there.”
Real-time bidding is a subcategory of programmatic media buying in which ads are bought and sold in real time on a per-impression basis in an instant auction. Pittman and Bressler didn’t offer specifics on how this would be accomplished other than to say the company is currently building out the technology as part of a multi-year effort to allow advertisers to buy iHeart inventory the way they buy digital media advertising. That involves data-infused buying and programmatic trading, along with ad targeting and campaign attribution.
Radio’s largest group has also moved away from selling based on rating points to transacting on audience impressions, and migrated from traditional demographics to audiences or cohorts. It now offers advertisers 800 different prepopulated audience segments, ranging from auto intenders to moms that had a baby in the last six months…
Advertisers buy iHeart’s ad inventory “in pieces,” Pittman explained, leaving “holes in between” that go unsold. “Digital-like buying for broadcast radio is the key to filling in those holes,” he added…
…there has been no degradation in the reach of broadcast radio. The degradation has been in a lot of other media, but not radio. And the reason is because what we do is fundamentally more important than it’s ever been: we keep people company.”
Most AM-FM radios in homes are not connected to the Internet, so they don’t work for tracking individual listeners. Cars, however, are another story. In Privacy Nightmare on Wheels’: Every Car Brand Reviewed By Mozilla — Including Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota — Flunks Privacy Test, Mozilla pulls together a mountain of findings about just how much modern cars spy on their drivers and passengers, and then pass personal information on to many other parties. Here is one relevant screen grab:
As for consent? When you’re on a browser or an app, you’re on the global Internet, where the GDPR and to a lesser degree the CCPA and other privacy laws apply, meaning that websites and apps have to make a show of requiring consent to what you don’t want. But cars have no UI for that. All their computing is behind the dashboard where you can’t see it and can hardly control it. So the car makers can go nuts gathering fuck-all, while you’re almost completely in the dark about it.
Here is how Mozilla describes the situation:
Many car brands engage in “privacy washing.” Privacy washing is the act of pretending to protect consumers’ privacy while not actually doing so — and many brands are guilty of this. For example, several have signed on to the automotive Consumer Privacy Protection Principles. But these principles are nonbinding and created by the automakers themselves. Further, signatories don’t even follow their own principles, like Data Minimization (i.e. collecting only the data that is needed).
And, “Nineteen (76%) of the car companies we looked at say they can sell your personal data.”
To iHeart? Why not? They’re in the market.
And, of course, you are not.
Hell, you have access to almost none of that data. There’s what the dashboard tells you, and that’s it.
As for advice? For now, all I have is this: buy an old car or keep the one you’ve got.