Conal Byrne has been CEO of the iHeartPodcast Network ever since Stuff Media was acquired by iHeartMedia nearly three years ago. Now as podcast and other digital business components grow in importance at the company, Byrne has been tapped to lead iHeart’s newly created Digital Audio Group. He will also continue in his role as head of the iHeartPodcast Network.
In addition to iHeartRadio and the iHeartPodcast Network, the newly created Digital Audio Group includes the company’s websites, newsletters, digital services and programs; and its digital advertising technology companies, including Jelli, RadioJar, Unified and Voxnest. It will also include Triton Digital upon completion of the pending $230 million acquisition of the digital audio services and measurement company.
As of fourth quarter, the Digital Audio Group encompassed almost 20% of the company’s overall revenue and 23% of its earnings. In Q4 it grew revenue by 53% year-over-year. CEO Bob Pittman said these percentages will continue to rise in the future.
“We believe our digital audio business is now significant enough to begin operating and reporting as a distinct segment,” Pittman said during a conference call with analysts on Thursday.
The iHeartMedia Digital Audio team will be led by Byrne as CEO and Darren Davis as COO, with Carter Brokaw serving as President of Digital Revenue and Jessica Jerrick as Executive Vice President of Digital Distribution and Platform Partnerships.
Byrne came to the company in 2018 via its $55 million purchase of Stuff Media. “Conal and Darren’s combined breadth of experience and diverse skill-sets position the digital audio group for continued growth and expansion,” Pittman said.
Looking at iHeart through this new lens shows the Digital Audio Group produced $175 million in revenue and $60 million in earnings in fourth quarter for a 35% profit margin.
The creation of the Digital Audio Group is only half the story. It is also creating the Multiplatform Group which encompasses the company’s 860-station broadcast platform. With its scale and mega cash flow, it represents nearly three-quarters of iHeartMedia revenue and remains the foundation of its business. In addition to the radio group, it includes the company’s live and virtual events business; its national ad sales organization, and Premiere Networks, which includes the Total Traffic and Weather Network; and BIN: Black Information Network.
The iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group will be led by Greg Ashlock as CEO and Tim Castelli as Chief Revenue Officer. In addition, Hartley Adkins will become President of the Markets Group; Julie Talbott joins this team in her role as President of Premiere Networks; and Jeff Howard remains President of National Sales and Tony Coles as President of BIN: Black Information Network.
“The creation of these two new segments will enable us to strengthen the mission and tighten the focus of each group, accelerate our ability to deliver industry-leading products and services to our listeners and advertising partners across all platforms, and accelerate our transformation into a nimble and digitally-focused company,” Pittman told investors.