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iHeartMedia Makes Substantial Progress in Paying off Debt

The company has retired $80 million in debt and has repaid $430 million to lenders since second quarter 2022.

Maddy Troy

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A photo of the iHeartMedia logo
iheartmedia logo

According to B. Riley Securities analyst Daniel Day has commended iHeartMedia for continuing to make progress on paying back its financial debt.

Day noted that the media company has retired $80 million in debt and has repaid $430 million to lenders since second quarter 2022. Reducing the outstanding debt amount from $1.45 billion to approximately $1 billion.

“We expect nearly all free cash flow moving forward to be allocated toward debt reduction,” Day said in the report. “We don’t see the company achieving this target until early 2025 but believe shares can more than double from current levels of deleveraging progress alone.”

On Tuesday, during the company’s second-quarter conference call, iHeart President/COO/CFO Rich Bressler stated that iHeartMedia“remains committed” to decreasing its overall debt and recent cost-cutting efforts and real estate sales have helped achieve that goal. At the end of the second quarter, iHeart had $5.2 billion of net debt outstanding.

“We expect to have a strong 2024 with the resumption of our growth story in terms of revenue, profitability, and free cash flow generation. And of course, this growth will increase our ability to continue to improve our capital structure,” Bressler said. “In the current macro environment, this type of debt profile positions us to be both resilient and opportunistic in responding to debt market developments,” Bressler said.

Day made the point that iHeart’s stock is worthy of a “buy” rating with “limited” risk to potential downsides. “We recognize that amidst a challenging ad spend backdrop and few hard catalysts outside of progress on debt reduction, investors may need to be patient with the name for a few quarters,” Day said.

CEO Bob Pittman noted at Tuesday’s meeting, the podcast arena made a substantial dent in the company’s revenue, providing sustained growth, “In the second quarter, podcasting was by far the best-performing segment of the advertising marketplace, and we continued to have the largest podcast audience reach in the United States.”

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Media Business

Advertisers Would Pay Premium for Corresponding In-Dash Visuals, New Study Shows

In total, 80% of advertisers claimed they were interested in in-dash visual ads.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of a car's infotainment center

A new study from Advertiser Perceptions shows that radio advertisers and agencies would pay a premium to see their commercials synced with in-dash visuals on car radios.

In 2021, media agencies and marketers said they were “very familiar” with in-car radio display technologies. In 2024, that figure has risen to 33%, with another 33% saying they were “somewhat familiar.”

In total, 80% of advertisers claimed they were interested in in-dash visual ads. In 2021, only 64% of respondents answered similarly.

When asked “How much on top of a typical AM/FM radio buy would you be willing to invest in this new in-car visual display capability?” the average advertiser claimed they would be willing to increase their budget by 16% in the latest version of the study.

That figure was 14% in both 2022 and 2023, and was 12% in 2021.

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Media Business

Median Age of Podcast Users Nearly 30 Years Younger Than Cable TV

“The ascent of podcasting signals a shift towards on-demand content consumption that aligns with the lifestyles and preferences of younger generations.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of a podcast user's cell phone

It is no secret that cable TV has seen the age of its viewers continue to rise. But the entire picture is coming into view when juxtaposed against other mediums like radio and podcast users.

A new report from Amplifi Media shows that the median age of cable news viewers is 70. MSNBC is 70, Fox News is 69, and CNN is 67. That median age means that more than half the viewers are actually older than 70 years old.

Network television isn’t a much brighter picture. In primetime, the median age is 64. FOX has the youngest number at 49.5.

However, the median age of podcast consumers comes in at 34.

Steve Goldstein, Founder and CEO of Amplifi Media, believes the drastically younger demographics of the medium make it an ideal platform for advertisers.

“The ascent of podcasting signals a shift towards on-demand content consumption that aligns with the lifestyles and preferences of younger generations,” wrote Goldstein. “We live in an on-demand world, and while other media are adjusting (think streaming apps and YouTube), podcasting has three not-so-secret ingredients that traditional media struggle to match: intimacy, flexibility, and loyalty, which makes podcasting an ideal platform for engaging storytelling, niche topics, and fresh takes.”

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Media Business

Majority of Media Advertising Projected to Be AI-Aided By End of Decade

Forecasts show that 69.5% of all advertising revenue will be AI-aided, while that number is expected to grow to over 90% by 2029.

Barrett News Media

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The rise of artificial intelligence in media has been a focus for several years. But the use of AI in advertising is just getting started, and a new study suggests it will influence the space in the years to come.

GroupM has released its This Year Next Year forecast. In its projections, it believes that AI will be a prominent tool in advertising optimization. By the end of 2024, it forecasts that 69.5% of all advertising revenue will be AI-aided, while that number is expected to grow to over 90% by 2029.

The company also projects that AI-generated content in advertisements will account for 1.6% of all commercials in 2024. GroupM believes that figure is likely to grow to 10.7% by the end of the decade.

While the organization forecasts an increase of $365.9 billion, up 5.8% compared to previous projections, it shows a 1.5% drop in revenue for terrestrial radio, according to RadioInk.

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