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iHeartMedia targets podcast to extend empire

iHeartMedia CEO Bullish on Podcast Industry Growth

Bob Pittman - 11th Annual Exploring The Arts Gala 2018- Getty-H 2018
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

“It’s sort of the on-demand version of radio,” says Bob Pittman. But “unlike the TV people, we don’t intend to give our power to create this product to someone else.”

iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman told an investor conference on Thursday that podcast advertising trends have remained strong during the coronavirus pandemic and described podcasting as a Netflix for radio.

Speaking during the virtual Bank of America Securities 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in a session that was webcast, he said: “Podcasting is already bigger than streaming music services like Spotify, and the growth continues, so we are investing heavily into it.”

Pittman also shared the company’s take on the space, saying: “Internally, we think about podcasting as sort of like Netflix was for TV, it’s sort of the on-demand version of radio.”

But he emphasized that iHeart doesn’t plan to leave the business opportunity to a disruptor like the entertainment industry did in streaming when Netflix came along. “We see it as an extension of radio,” he said. “Unlike the TV people, we don’t intend to give our power to create this product to someone else. We are creating it ourselves.”

Pittman also said that the host was “very important” for podcasts, driving their success or lack thereof. And addressing the outlook for podcasting as a business, he said: “I feel like this is another one of those that is going to surprise on the upside.”

Pittman was also asked about the relationship with John Malone’s Liberty Media, which owns a 5 percent stake in iHeart, lauding the company as a “valued” and “supportive” shareholder. “We certainly have tremendous respect for their management team.” Highlighting Liberty’s early investment in audio entertainment companies, including SiriusXM, Pittman called Liberty “brethren in terms of our view of audio.”

This entry was posted on Monday, December 9th, 2019 at 2:36 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.