It seems Apple hasn’t given up the battle for the Internet radio crown just yet. Now the company’s advertising arm, iAds, is throwing all its weight behind iTunes Radio, which launched with the release of iOS7 in September. According to Ad Week, the message to refocus on selling the service to consumers comes straight from Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of software, who told staff in a meeting that iTunes Radio should be their top priority.
One Apple insider who was at the recent pre-holidays staff meeting and spoke to the publication said the message was pretty clear: “if you’re not working on iTunes Radio, you’re irrelevant.” It’s not yet clear, though, how far-reaching the new goal of selling spots for Apple’s Internet radio service will be — it’s possible, Ad Week’s source said, that the iAds team will not limit the campaign to mobile devices and may attempt to sell ads across several devices, possibly even through Apple’s iTV.
Apple’s advertising business, iAds, which launched in 2010, originally played a crucial role in helping third-party developers monetize apps on the iOS platform. Most of the revenue iAds generates still comes from in-app advertisements by third-party developers. Now, however, iAds is undergoing a restructuring in order to focus on selling new audio and video spots for iTunes Radio.
The advertising arm is also working on developing a real-time bidding exchange to help automate the sale of in-app advertisements so that its advertising team can focus on selling spots for iTunes Radio. The move is bound to result in some minor challenges. While many developers are already comfortable with iAds largely “self-service” advertising tools and will likely appreciate the shift toward a real-time bidding exchange, developers who are used to more assistance from the iAds team may find themselves miffed. Regardless, the shift to automated ad sales means that advertisements via iAds will be open to far more advertisers and at lower prices than before.
Apple isn’t the only one pushing for the lead in Internet radio: Pandora (NYSE:P), which has been considered the leader of the pack in the online radio business, has also been on an advertising drive, hiring hundreds of new salespeople to staff its local sales forces. Likewise, Spotify, another competitor in the Internet radio arena, recently released a mobile radio service, allowing customers to stream music from their phones or tablets.