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iHEART'S COVID-19 RECOVERY IS STREAMING ALONG

iHeartMedia beat company and Wall Street expectations in the third quarter as revenue rose 25% to $928m; adjusted EBITDA of $230 million was up by a similar margin over Q3 2020.

Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman attributed it to the company’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19 and its growth in the podcasting marketplace.

“Our strong results this quarter are further evidence of the success of our company’s continuing transformation—data-led, digital and podcast-focused, along with the unparalleled audience reach of our broadcast radio assets, and supported by the largest sales force and the only unified ad-tech stack in audio advertising—all with the strong flywheel effect of our scale and leadership position,” he said on a conference call. “These results highlight both the strong growth and potential of our digital business, including podcasting, and the strong recovery and growth potential of our radio business.”

Broadcast Radio revenue was up nearly 20% to $483.45m; networks rose 7.5% to $127.9m; and Sponsorship and Events hit $42.66m, a 47.6% increase.  

Digital Audio Group revenue of $205.8m was up 77% year over year; podcast revenue of $64.2m was up 184%; and digital revenue excluding podcast of $141.6m was up 51%.

Pittman also told analysts, “Digital revenues are now about one-third the size of our Multiplatform Group revenues and have more than doubled over the last five quarters. Even with the expected growth of our Multiplatform Group, we believe Digital will ultimately grow to Multiplatform Group revenue levels and beyond due to the high-growth assets of the Digital Audio Group and the size and expected expansion of the digital advertising TAM.”

Citing Podtrac data, Pittman said iHeart is the #1 podcast publisher, with 30m U.S. unique monthly listeners and 282m global monthly downloads and streams. 

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