iAd Sales Push iTunes Radio with Real-Time Bidding Exchange


Apple’s iAd team is looking forward to a busy 2014, focusing on its top-priority mission: monetizing iTunes Radio, the music streaming service introduced with iOS 7. The new mission comes directly from Apple’s head of software, Eddie Cue, AdWeek reports.

Indeed, there is a new focus within the company’s advertising unit, and the mantra came direct from Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of software. In a staff meeting before the holidays, Cue indicated that iTunes Radio is the top priority, and app ads are not.

There are changes in strategy as well. AdWeek‘s sources say the company is gradually transitioning from its earlier aggressive sales effort, which had iAd prices starting at “$1 million a pop.” The new strategy is whispered to be a real-time bidding exchange, which would help automate sales.

A source familiar with iAds said Apple has kept its real-time initiative under close wraps and is “not casting a wide net.” That may be because the company is figuring out how to gradually transition from earlier aggressive sales efforts that had iAd prices starting at $1 million a pop. “It’s a rare advertiser that is going to be willing to pay those rates,” said the source.

It’s not clear whether the new Apple exchange will be limited to mobile, because it could sell real-time iAds across devices—or even through Apple TV, the insider said.

Apple recently hired a former Cumulus Media executive, Michael Pallad, to take over as head of international ad sales for iTunes Radio. Back then, AdAge’s sources pointed to an aggressive sales strategy Apple had planned for iAd. iTunes Radio launched with a handful of advertisers on board, such as Nissan, Procter & Gamble, and Pepsi, but the contracts will expire at the end of the year.

The first impressions coming from advertisers appear to be positive, but it remains to be seen how Apple’s strategy will work out in the near future.

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