Commercial Radio Australia set to announce tender winners for first stage of programmatic push

Landsberry JamesCommercial Radio Australia is set to formally appoint Landsberry & James to implement the first stage of an industry wide media buying automation system, Mumbrella can reveal.

The move is likely to have major ramifications for a number of existing players already operating in the automation/programmatic radio space including Audionet, which has been working with ARN on the automation of on-air and Triton Digital, which is working with Southern Cross Austereo and Macquarie Media on the monetisation of their digital assets.

CRA has been quietly working on a tender process for much of the last six months with a number of parties invited to participate, with the process being led by Nova Entertainment CEO Cathy O’Connor.

Mumbrella understands CRA has informed the other participants in the process that they have been unsuccessful and that Landsberry & James will lead the first stage of the project, although the radio industry body declined to formally confirm this.

Warner: it will be a three stage process.

Warner: it will be a three stage process.

“CRA is in the process of looking at a three step approach to radio,” Joan Warner CEO of Commercial Radio Australia told Mumbrella. “The first would be an automated radio holdings, second data segmentation and third ‘programmatic’ trading further down the track.

“L&J is one of a number of organisations with whom we have explored proposals for stage 1.”

Landsberry & James declined to comment on whether or not they had won the tender.

Industry sources have questioned why there has been no formal announcement of the decision from CRA, with the various parties in the process being informed of the decision to choose L&J some weeks ago. It is thought that part of the reason for the delay may be that contractual negotiations are still ongoing and that the decision has yet to be formally ratified by the board.

The Media Federation of Australia, which represents Australia’s major media agencies, is also understood to have been involved in setting the scope of the platform that is set to handle more than $600m in annual agency spend on radio, but not on the selection of the tender.

The decision raises the question of whether the CRA will require its members to move to the new platform and what this will mean for the existing participants in the market which have invested heavily to launch their platforms.

The radio industry has been under pressure to avoid the situation of having a number of different programmatic platforms across the various radio networks.

Simon Ryan, the CEO of media agency Carat, warned a radio industry conference last year that it needs to beware the threat of streaming players Spotify and Pandora and accelerate a push to programmatic.

“We need to accelerate our industry as a whole – whether it’s as a media owner or radio perspective to really accelerate and grow quickly and look at ways we can gather the audience,” said Ryan.

“Especially with the international media giants that are coming in.”


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