September 18, 2014
Maker of the popular iHeartRadio app, Clear Channel Communications, will rename itself iHeartMedia as it moves further towards digital media following the success of its radio streaming efforts. The iHeartRadio Network, which includes the websites of Clear Channel’s broadcast stations like KIIS in Los Angeles, attracts 97 million visitors per month. The company also sponsors the iHeartRadio Music Festival featuring some of the biggest Top 40 artists in the nation.
The iHeartRadio app is one of the most successful music streaming apps. The website has 21 million more monthly visitors than Pandora. However, Pandora registers more users (250 million compared to iHeartRadio’s 50 million). The entire iHeartMedia enterprise has a total radio and online audience of 245 million people each month.
The newly-rebranded iHeartMedia owns 850 radio stations in the U.S., and that will still be its main source of revenue. Last year, Clear Channel’s Media and Entertainment division generated $3.1 billion in revenue, but only a small portion of that came from iHeartRadio’s online advertising. “Less than 5 percent of the listening to the company’s programming is digital,” reports The New York Times.
Research firm eMarketer, however, estimates that future growth will come from digital. The firm projects that digital sales will increase by 160 percent over the next four years to $5.3 billion. That revenue will help relieve Clear Channel of some of its $20 billion debt remaining from its private equity deal in 2008.
Executives at Clear Channel are hoping that the new name will help redefine the company as an innovative multiplatform media company.