iHeart Acquires Jelli, Gets Into The SSP Game
Yesterday iHeart announced it had finalized a deal to purchase Jelli for an undisclosed amount. Jelli is the audio SSP iHeart and its national rep firm Katz have been utilizing since 2015 to help transact programmatic deals. Jelli will operate as an independent wholly-owned subsidiary, which will allow them to continue working with other non-iHeart broadcasters.
iHeart’s acquisition of Jelli is a very similar strategic move as Pandora’s purchase of AdsWizz in May. Both companies have recognized the importance of controlling a supply-side portal to connect their inventory to DSPs, and also house others’ audio inventory on their platforms. These are really set ups moves by an industry who’s about ready to make a huge pivot from IO’d purchasing to programmatic transacting. Should be interesting to watch these two battle it out.
Admittedly, I’ve been a long-time skeptic of how iHeart runs its business. But moves like this show a commitment to leading broadcast radio from its traditional legacy past into a digital future.