Here is the third installment in the “Data in Action” data innovator profile series. Today Romi’s interview is with Michael Dougherty, CEO of internet audio pioneer Jelli.
Romi Mahajan: Everyone is talking about Data nowadays. When you think about Data, what does the term conjure?
Michael Dougherty: Data is life blood of any business in 2013. It is a primary ingredient behind the most successful companies, informing and improving all aspects of a company from product, design, sales, and of course, marketing. Using data to create insight, and react in real time, is a competitive weapon of the leaders of any given market.
Jelli is a company that is helping use Data to reinvent Radio. Can you tell us a bit about the pain you are solving?
Radio is massive part of media landscape, reaching over 242 million people in the U.S. each week. It remains the primary medium reaching us in the car, the two hours per day that the web is still very nascent. But overall radio has lacked new innovation. Radio has huge reach but remains primarily a one-way medium with no feedback loop and limited Data about its audience. Because Data has become so important to marketers, this is a challenge for the industry.
Jelli brings the power of an online web platform to a medium that has historically been primarily managed offline. We provide a feedback loop for radio, combining the reach of radio with the measurement and engagement of the web. We install our platform in traditional radio stations, and automate delivery of programming and advertising for those stations. We enable listeners to use their mobile phones to pick songs that play on the air in real time, learning a lot from their engagement. We enable advertisers to deliver traditional radio spots with the efficiency and interactivity of an online ad. By so doing we change the way radio programmers and marketers can access the 242 million people listening to radio - via social engagement, real time delivery of radio spots, transparency, accountability and measurability.
Radio today constitutes about 10% of a massive 175B dollar ad market in the US. How can data make those dollars more useful?
Radio is a very efficient medium to provide reach for clients, and it is a “must buy” for certain brands to achieve their goals. However, it has been hampered by lack of real time data to measure the effectiveness of those dollars. This is becoming a bigger issue as more clients buy online and mobile campaigns, which highlight further the lack of real time Data in offline media like radio or TV.
Jelli has created a cloud-based platform that delivers radio spots on the air on hundreds of stations in the U.S. in real time, logging these offline impressions and immediately providing access to clients about their campaign progress. In addition we have real time audience data that can show how the listeners are reacting to the campaigns, and we can integrate a radio spot seamlessly with online and mobile triggers to measure conversion and ROI.
What do you think the future of Radio is and how will big data help solve this?
There is a shift underway in radio. Currently in the U.S. there are hundreds of millions of commuters each week driving in their cars, spending a couple hundred billion hours of time spent in those cars annually. For marketers, it is a huge opportunity to reach those commuters when they are out and about. Radio broadcasting currently owns those two hours per day, and enables marketers to reach those customers.
But as the cars become connected to the web via your smartphone and high speed wireless data plan, the car will be a battleground for future of the web. Mary Meeker at Kleiner Perkins rightly views this as one of the white spaces for the web. Google, Facebook and others will compete for that attention, as incremental growth for their advertising businesses. In this world, Data will dominate marketing like it does online, via mobile audio advertising that is targeted, contextual and engaging.
Everyone is talking about Social. How does Jelli help combine Social and Data to offer value to customers?
We believe radio has a social DNA. Radio’s shared listening experience builds local community around a favorite station. Jelli’s platform helps local stations amplify the strength of that community, by allowing listeners to engage with the station and each other in fundamental ways. After we help create a great community, driving up engagement and ratings, we can invite brands into that experience. Radio spots become interactive, and the community can engage with brands via radio in ways to possible before. The social engagement is measured and available in real time, driving significant insight, also a first for the medium.
Do you see convergence among Radio, TV, Digital and other media as key to effective marketing?
Yes, absolutely! It is one of the most fundamental and exciting opportunities in marketing. Jelli’s mission is to move the offline segment of radio… online, opening up a realm of possibility for cross media meaurement, integrated campaigns, even new ways to target and re-target across channels. When this happens, “total audience” campaigns can be approached. We are creating an “API” for radio, and look forward to work with our partners at agencies to integrate this platform with digital and even TV campaigns in fundamental ways.
What areas of media are the most data-driven already? Which areas need to really up their game?
Certainly digital and mobile media segments are the most data-driven currently, at least in the use of real time data. Offline media segments like radio and TV have tremendous efficiency and reach, but could benefit from real time data. Radio should move from focusing just on whether the audio spot “ran” to did it “resonate.” This is what is important in 2013 and deep access to audience and campaign data is necessary to achieve this. CMOs and agencies are asking for this innovation, and it is our sole focus at Jelli to provide this to them with regard to radio.
What will Jelli look like in 2017? What would the Wall Street Journal say about you in 2017?
In five years, more cars will be connected. Audio will remain the predominate form of marketing to customers in their cars. I believe it will be one of the largest segments of all of mobile advertising, in fact.
At Jelli, we want to be known as the company driving fundamental innovation in audio advertising, across offline and online. Can we make audio ads more “social?” Can we make them more resonate? Can we use real time data to make them more accountable and measurable? We are not forgetting the power of audio to reach millions of people. Or better said: to reach an individual person.
We can make audio advertising better for listeners and advertisers. We’ve always been inspired by Google. At Jelli, we are using data and the power of a web platform to unlock huge potential of the medium.
Mike Dougherty is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Jelli, a social radio platform that combines the reach of radio with the engagement of the web. Under his leadership, Jelli has developed a next-generation advertising platform that provides real-time measurement, accountability, and analytics to the radio station and their advertising clients. Dougherty was named a radio industry Power Player by All Access and has appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box, G4TV and at NAB, CES, Digital Hollywood, Intel’s CEO Summit, TEDxSF, The Paley Center, Radio Ink’s Tech Summit, RAIN and NARM.
Editor’s Note: Romi Mahajan is an investor in Jelli.