During a year like no other, iHeartMedia said Thursday that its podcast business growth path remained a constant and, if anything, accelerated during the second quarter. Podcast downloads for iHeart jumped 62% during the quarter, while podcast revenue more than doubled. “That strength in podcasting highlights how the decisions that we have made are paying off,” said CEO Bob Pittman. “Today, iHeart is the No. 1 commercial podcast company in America and our podcast division continues to grow at a rapid pace, with revenue outstripping the audience growth.” He noted their portfolio of nearly 500 premium podcast titles now averages about 225 million downloads per month.
Pittman said information and companionship have long been at the core of the radio listening experience, especially in times of need, and he believes that halo is now also benefiting his company’s podcast efforts. “We believe the strength of our podcast listening is an indication that podcast listening is providing a similar benefit and it’s an extension of the radio listening experience,” he said. “It’s no surprise that the two largest podcast publishers, iHeart and NPR, are both major broadcast radio companies. Both have a two-to-one lead to the next largest publisher.”
iHeartMedia reported its podcast revenue grew 103% during the second quarter compared to a year ago, making it by far the segment of the business that did the best during a period that was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. “We believe this is strong validation of our multiplatform strategy, investments and successes,” said Pittman.
As a network of 850 broadcast radio stations helps to promote shows, iHeart also continues to work to funnel its radio and podcast advertisers back and forth between the two mediums. “The people who are interested in podcasting, they certainly should be interested in radio, because to us it winds up being the same thing,” Pittman said. “It’s radio-on-demand. We find in successful podcasts it’s very host-driven, just like radio.”