Continuing to recover from ad pullbacks from the pandemic, iHeartMedia’s revenues jumped 10.7% to $954.0 million in the second quarter as both its red-hot Digital Audio Group and cash cow Multiplatform Group posted year-over-year gains. Thanks to scorching 60.4% revenue growth in podcasting, billings at the Digital Audio Group climbed 27.6% to $252.6 million. But it wasn’t just podcasting that spurred the increase. Digital revenues were up 15.5% when podcasting is subtracted from the comparison. The Digital Audio Group also includes the iHeartRadio streaming platform, social media, digital ad tech and third-party extensions.
Billings at the Multiplatform Group, home to 850 radio stations and assorted radio networks, rose 4.5% year-over-year to $633.3 million. Within that business segment, broadcast revenue grew 2.7% to $463.3 million, driven by higher spot revenue and political ad sales from the 2022 midterm elections. That was partially offset by lower trade and barter revenue from the timing of the iHeartRadio Music Awards show. Networks revenue grew 3.2% to $127.5 million. And as live events roared back to life, sponsorship and events billings rocketed up 33.2% to $38.1 million.
The Audio & Media Services Group, iHeart’s third reporting segment, increased billings by 16.2% to $71.1 million.
Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman called it “another quarter of solid results” in terms of consumer usage, revenue, earnings growth and free cash flow generation. “The Digital Audio Group continues to deliver industry-leading growth, and our Multiplatform Group continues to demonstrate that it is a growth engine for the company as well,” Pittman said in a press release ahead of the company’s Thursday afternoon quarterly call with analysts. “As the #1 audio company in America across broadcast radio, digital radio and podcasting – and the largest consumer reach audio company in the U.S. by far, we remain committed to building our businesses for future growth and continuing to deliver both trusted companionship to our listeners and significant and unique value to our advertising partners,” Pittman said.
Earnings for the quarter clocked in at $237 million, which President, COO and CFO Rich Bressler said was “in line with the revenue guidance range we provided – despite the uncertain economic environment. We remain focused on the generation of free cash flow, continuing adjusted EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin expansion, and making significant progress toward reducing our net leverage to 4-times,” Bressler added.