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Triton Moving Toward Barter � Eyeing Internet Radio Sales

With last week�s acquisition of Excelsior Radio Networks, Triton Media Group aims to evolve the network radio business beyond traditional on-air boundaries to include an equivalent network buy on the Internet, according to MediaWeek.

Although terms were not disclosed, Oaktree Capital is estimated to have paid Lincolnshire Management north of $100 million for Excelsior. Lincolnshire Management will remain a stakeholder in the combined company.

The deal combines Triton�which provides a suite of digital products and services to 1,000 radio stations�with Excelsior�s syndicated programming, traditional radio networks (Dial Global), and interactive business (MJI Interactive) across 2,000 stations.

The unique combination of assets enables Triton to bring to the online space the traditional network-radio strategy of aggregating inventory locally to achieve national reach.

To build out a digital network that can be integrated with Dial Global�s traditional radio networks, Triton proposes to convert its fee-based relationships with stations to a barter arrangement for both on-air and online inventory. Integrated packages are expected by early next year.

Days after the acquisition was announced, Triton�s Mass 2 One Media, which provides a suite of online audience engagement applications (social networking, text messaging and loyalty/reward programs), inked a barter deal for on-air and online inventory. The agreement was with The Content Factory, syndicators of The Dan Patrick Show, and accompanying web site.

The market Triton envisions for integrated on-air and online radio packages is wide open. Currently about 95% of radio internet revenue is locally generated, but Neal Schore, Triton�s president and CEO, sees a much larger marketplace. �As it matures, we think it will be a 75/25 split. It wouldn't shock me to see a 50/50 split, and grow to at least $5 billion in the next few years,� he said.

�There hasn�t been a lot of opportunity in network online,� said Matt Feinberg, senior vice president of national radio for Zenith Media. �One of the concerns we have is that they be able to control what they�re selling. A big part of it is owning the assets. That�s why network radio hasn�t gotten into it.�

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