Michael Pallad, former VP of sales at Cumulus Media, has left the radio giant to oversee Apple’s ad sales for iTunes Radio internationally according to a report from AdAge.
Pallad joined Apple on December 2nd and has spent the last week getting oriented at the Cupertino Headquarters, but he’ll be pressed to get up to speed ASAP as Apple’s initial iTunes Radio ad deals are set to expire at the end of the year.
Apple’s hiring of Pallad hints that the company is looking to take a bigger bite out of the $1.56 billion U.S. digital radio advertising market. Apple beefed up it’s iAd team alongside the launch of iTunes Radio in September, but the Pallad hire and his connection should help the company gain traction quickly among agencies. Adam Shlachter VP of media at DigitasLBi had the following to say about the Pallad hire,
“To have someone at the helm with that much experience and connections [Mr. Pallad] must have and the knowledge he would bring to the party, it will only help to continue to make the case for [iTunes Radio] as a viable alternative or a considered part of the mix given the volume of streaming audio consumed.”
During the first month of its launch, iTunes Radio gained 20 million users who listened to 1 billions songs according to CEO Tim Cook. Those number pale in comparison to Pandora which boasts 72.4 million users.
iTunes Radio launched in September with a handful of exclusive advertisers including McDonalds, McDonalds, Nissan, Pepsi and Procter & Gamble but all of those deals expire at the end of the year. Apple is reportedly pushing some ambitious new pricing plans with advertisers by looking for 12-month commitments on deals worth at least $1 million and include audio, video and display ads.