iHeartMedia Partners With WPP to Launch Project Listen, a New Audio Advertiser Initiative

iHeartMedia has unveiled a strategic partnership.

According to the major American broadcaster, consumer listening has reached an all-time high.

On average, consumers listen to 17 hours of audio content a week.  Millennials and younger generations listen the most.  iHeartMedia attributed the strong increase to the growth in digital streaming, podcasts, smart speakers, and Apple’s AirPods.

To take advantage of the growth in audio consumption, iHeartMedia has partnered with WPP, a self-described “creative transformation company.”  Both companies will work together on an initiative dubbed Project Listen.

The initiative aims to help brands better engage with consumers and “win” across multiple audio platforms, including broadcast radio, digital streaming, podcasts, smart speakers, and live events.

First unveiled at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity on Monday, the new partnership comprises three elements.

First, both companies have launched the Creative Audio Studio at WPP’s GroupM headquarters at 3 World Trade Center in New York.  Clients and creatives from across the transformation company will experiment with modern audio marketing programs at the studio.  They’ll also work with creative producers in a series of pilots.

Second, both companies will collaborate on media planning offers.  iHeartMedia will integrate its Smart Audio Insights and audience tools with GroupM’s data to uncover “new insights” and support “novel measurement” approaches.  Both companies will share these insights and approaches in quarterly intelligence reports for clients.  iHeartMedia and WPP will also roll out an audio certification program for planners at GroupM’s agencies in 2019.

Finally, an 18-episode Project Listen monthly podcast launched at Cannes will run until 2020.  The podcast will include lessons from client pilots and research.  Both companies said this will help “inspire” more advertisers to embrace new audio capabilities.

Speaking about the initiative, Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO, explained,

Project Listen is about tapping into the scale of audio and moving from the traditionally transactional radio business to the future of audio advertising where insights and ideas lead the way to growth for brands.

Simply put, audio is the biggest greenfield for growth in media today, and we could not be more excited to partner with the talented teams across WPP to develop the tools and skillsets needed to unlock that growth.”

Mark Read, WPP CEO, added,

Consumers are listening more than ever, and we already know the power of music, voice, and sound to create engaging and emotional human connections.

As consumer behavior evolves, from the media they enjoy to how they relate to brands and make purchase decisions, it’s essential to have a modern approach to creative and strategy for all media, including audio.

 


Featured image by iHeartMedia.

iHeartMedia Discreetly Files for IPO

IHeartMedia’s IPO could do decently.  But, will the company’s top executives run the company into the ground once more?

Two years ago, iHeartMedia faced a massive problem.

Saddled with around $20.6 billion in debt, a group of the broadcast radio giant’s lenders had rejected an overhaul plan.

The company had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

Of course, the move didn’t affect its top executives – just its low-level employees.

In its rushed 2018 Key Incentive Bonus Plan presented last year, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman received $9.3 million in bonus payments by the end of 2018.  Basically, he received millions for running the company into the ground. Chief Operating Officer Bressler – another executive arguably responsible for the company’s bankruptcy – got $5.3 million.  General Counsel Robert Walls earned $900,000.

Now, fresh out of bankruptcy, and with undeserved millions in top execs’ pockets, the company has a new plan to earn even more money.

iHeartMedia’s three favorite letters – IPO.

According to a new SEC filing, the broadcast radio giant has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) earlier today.

Competing against established streaming music services like Spotify, Pittman’s company must now provide investors with a compelling reason to invest in traditional radio.

According to iHeartMedia, and unlike streaming music, radio provides “‘companionship.”  In this medium, “people look to audio, starting with broadcast radio and the personalities there, as their friend and companions.”

Radio continues to offer consumers something different in the form of curated, personality-led audio.

The medium is able to offer influencers a word-of-mouth style conversation, which propels audience engagement and connection in a very effective way.

To entice potential investors, iHeartMedia now claims it has a monthly audience reach of 275 million listeners aged 6 and above.  In contrast, Google and Facebook had 251 million and 215 million, respectively.  In its last financial report, Spotify revealed it around 207 million unique monthly active users (MAUs).

Taking a veiled swipe at the streaming music giant to puff itself up, iHeartMedia wrote,

Our Differentiated Social Reach – iHeartMedia’s personalities, stations, and brands have garnered 145 million social fans and followers as compared to Spotify’s 28 million and Pandora’s 8 million.

Our radio personalities engage with their listeners and fans across every major social platform, using technology to extend their deep listener connection and relationships.

Additionally, as of February 2019, the Company has 19 million monthly unique visitors on Snapchat and 19 million monthly unique visitors on YouTube, which we believe are larger than the audiences of the other major audio players on these platforms.

But, with the same executives that run the company into the ground still in charge, will investors buy in?

Hopefully not.

 


Featured image by Sam Valadi (CC by 2.0).

iHeartMedia Agrees to Split from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings

According to Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia, following the cut up, each corporations will lastly obtain their particular person misions.  But what does that imply, precisely?

Several months in the past, iHeartMedia, below the burden of over $20 billion in debt, filed for chapter.

The bankrupt firm owed an enormous quantity to organizations tasked with paying royalties for radio performs.  This included $6.three million to SoundExchange, $three.9 million to Warner Music, $2 million to Global Music Rights, $1.5 million to ASCAP, $1.four million to Broadcast Music Inc., and $1.three million to Universal Music Group.

As iHeartMedia Struggles to Exit Bankruptcy, Liberty Media Reportedly Eyes Control of the Company

Should Liberty Media purchase a major share in iHeartMedia, John Malone’s firm would personal a majority stake in 4 music properties.

Several months in the past, John Malone and his firm, Liberty Media, lastly achieved what they’d lengthy hoped for.

In a $three.5 billion all-stock deal, SiriusXM acquired Pandora Radio.  The transfer, per SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer, has created “the world’s largest audio-entertainment firm.”  Combined, the satellite tv for pc radio firm can have over 106 million month-to-month customers.  The firm has additionally projected to earn greater than $7 billion in income this 12 months.

Apple Could Soon Take a Sizeable Equity Investment in iHeartMedia

With an funding in iHeartMedia, Apple may lastly catapult its Beats Radio providing into the mainstream.  Let’s see how this performs out.

According to a brand new report, Apple desires a slice of the iHeartRadio pie.

Sources talking with the Financial Times acknowledged that the Cupertino firm has explored a ‘tie-up’ with iHeartMedia.  The transfer would increase its personal streaming music service, Apple Music, to not point out the embedded radio station, Beats 1.

Talks come forward of an upcoming deadline afterward this month.  The firm remains to be scuffling with $20 billion in debt, having filed for chapter safety final March.  In that mess, iHeart collectors have reached out to potential buyers.

At the tip of November, iHeartMedia will current its reorganization plan at a chapter court docket.

Talks stay within the preliminary stage, so issues may transfer in numerous instructions.  But iHeartMedia had reportedly pushed for Apple to take sizable fairness stake price tens of tens of millions of .

Should Apple refuse to enter right into a direct funding within the bankrupt radio broadcaster, an alternate plan exists.  A supply claims the Cupertino firm may as a substitute enter right into a multi-million greenback advertising and marketing partnership.  That would give Apple much less leverage, however save the corporate the stickiness of a direct funding.

iHeartMedia Announces First Podcast Awards Co-Hosted By Charlamagne Tha God

In the final decade, podcasts blew up as a brand new type leisure. Mixing parts from old-school radio reveals with 21st Century know-how, podcasts primarily created privatized radio programming for entertainers to succeed in area of interest markets. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, iHeartMedia has chosen to focus on the podcasters who convey the world personalised leisure. The media firm shall be launching the primary ever podcast awards on January 18. 

The inaugural iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will happen on the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles. It is the primary reside awards present for podcasting the place listeners can vote for the winners. The 90-minute ceremony shall be co-hosted The Breakfast Club‘s Charlamagne Tha God, who has skyrocketed to a stage journalism success past many his friends. The Stuff You Missed in History Class host Holly Frey and nation radio persona Bobby Bones will be a part of Charlamagne for internet hosting duties. 

“Podcasting has roared onto the audio scene, creating probably the most pleasure because the creation streaming music providers,” acknowledged the President iHeartMedia’s Podcasting Division Conal Byrne. “The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will present a discussion board to have fun the high-caliber, artistic content material that has made podcasting a serious new audio class — and that actually displays America’s favourite podcasts, voted by the listeners themselves. We stay up for internet hosting this transformative, annual occasion and inspiring everybody within the podcasting business to push the envelope and encourage much more creators on this house.” 

Latest Industry: iHeartMedia, Spotify, Streaming Subscriptions & Revenue, Live Nation, Deezer, More…

Latest Industry: iHeartMedia, Spotify, Streaming Subscriptions & Revenue, Live Nation, Deezer, More...

‘Bankrupt’ iHeartMedia buys Stuff Media.

The broadcaster paid $55 million for Stuff Media, the company behind podcast network HowStuffWorks.  This comes a week after iHeartMedia announced it would partner with HowStuffWorks to launch the second season of Atlanta Monster, a podcast show.


Farewell, 3,333 song limit.

Spotify Premium users can now download a maximum of 10,000 songs.  This limit applies to 5 devices now instead of the previous 3.


Mark Mulligan posts streaming subscription and revenue numbers.

For the first half of 2018, Midia Research found music subscribers around the world grew 16% to 229.5 million.  The global subscriber base grew 38%, adding 62.8 million subscribers.  Music subscription revenue reached $3.5 billion.  Spotify had a global share of 36%, the same percentage it had in Q4 2018.  Apple Music had 19%, growing 2%.  Between Prime Music and Music Unlimited, Amazon grew half a point to 12%.


Live Nation Electronic Asia announces a new deal.

Under terms of the multi-year deal, Budweiser has become the official brand and exclusive sponsor of the Creamfields dance music festivals and the Cream Tour in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.  Creamfields, founded in 1992, will return to China in 2018.


Deezer ramps up efforts to grow in the US market.

To capture the growing streaming music market in the US, Deezer has unveiled a free 15-day trial for new users.  The company has focused on appealing primarily to Hispanic – or Latinx – listeners offering reggaeton, Latin trap, and Mexican subgenres playlists.


Mute Song goes independent.

Mute’s indie publishing company, based in the US and Canada, now operates independently from the UK company.  Per MBW, Rough Trade Publishing will assist with catalog administration.  Bank Robber Music will provide sync support.

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British music organizations launch CMM.

The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) has launched, aiming to protect and enforce digital rights for songwriters, artists, producers, and creators.  The CMM is comprised of BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters), FAC (Featured Artists Coalition), MMF (Music Managers Forum), MPG (Music Producers Guild), and MU (Musicians Union).  CMM wants to achieve modernization, fairness, and transparency for music makers.


Modern Sky announces joint venture.

Under the deal with the Chinese indie label, DJ Yousef will continue to operate and run Circus Recordings.  The label, which releases mainly techno and EDM music, has released hits from Carl Cox, David Glass, and Steve Lawler, among others.

iHeartMedia Files For Bankruptcy

Looks can be deceiving in the business world. Despite its huge name and influence, iHeartMedia is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The news comes to us today after defaulting on a $106 million payment in February. The company is now restructuring their $20 billion in debt to companies they owe; now totaling over $10 billion.

“The agreement we announced today is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure,” CEO Bob Pittman revealed. “Achieving a capital structure that finally matches our impressive operating business will further enhance iHeartMedia’s position as America’s #1 audio company.” The financial woes are said to come from a leveraged buyout in 2008, back when they were named Clear Channel Outdoor.

An analyst credited “financial engineering” as their approach to longevity. Some the companies that are in need to be paid back are Nielsen, SoundExchange, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Spotify. Seth Crystall, an analyst at Debtwire mentioned, “They’re not shutting down. They’re going to pay their bills. If you were listening to iHeartRadio, or going to iHeart concerts, you will not even know the difference.” It’s an optimistic outlook on the unfortunate circumstances, and ideally this won’t affect the millions fans.