According to The Information, Apple is planning to add local content, including advertisements and broadcast radio stations, to iTunes Radio in the coming months. This move should help Apple compete with industry leader Pandora, which has sales teams recruiting local advertisers in 35 markets across the US.
Since Apple launched iTunes Radio last year, the company has been looking at ways to increase the reach and boost the revenue of the service. Apple has signed high-profile ad deals with major companies like Pepsi and Nissna, but has yet to tap the local market.
In a move that strikes at the heart of Pandora’s advertising business, iTunes Radio is expected to enable locally targeted advertising later this year, according to ad buyers who have spoken to Apple. Apple may begin promoting iTunes with “house ads” on its iAd mobile advertising network, an unusual move for the company.
Besides local ads, Apple also may serve up in-house iAds featuring its own iTunes promotions and content.
To break into the local market, Apple reportedly is talking to Cumulus Media, which is the second largest operator of terrestrial radio stations in the US. Cumulus stations cover 150 million listeners in more than 110 metropolitan areas.
This follows the debut of NPR on iTunes Radio last month. NPR is the first news provider on the streaming service, offering a 24-hour broadcast that includes popular shows such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered.