The importance of the iHeartRadio brand to Clear Channel is evident in top-level comments from Bob Pittman, summarizing financial numbers from CC Media Holdings.
The company reported results for 2014 first quarter. It said overall revenues were essentially flat compared to a year ago, totaling $1.3 billion. That includes growth of 2% in the Media and Entertainment business, where radio resides, and where CC enjoyed increases in its traffic and weather business, national and digital advertising, while local revenue declined. M+E’s revenue was $670.3 million, though its OIBDAN, a measure of consolidated net income, fell 6%.
Meantime revenue from its American outdoor advertising business fell 6%, while international outdoor was up 1%. (For a sense of scale, the two outdoor segments together bring in a bit less revenue as does the M+E business.)
CC Media Holdings lost more in the quarter than a year prior. Consolidated net loss was $424 million compared to a $203 million 12 months ago. “The increase was primarily attributable to non-cash deferred income taxes, as well as higher interest expense and equity in losses of non-consolidated affiliates,” it stated.
Chairman/CEO Pittman was quoted in the announcement: “We continued to make progress this quarter in advancing our strategy of providing customized, multi-platform market solutions that nobody else can.” He took note of partnerships making iHeartRadio available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple’s Car Play and the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch. “Our growing events business, which is extending the iHeartRadio brand across an increasing number of media platforms, successfully staged the first-ever iHeartRadio Country Music Festival in Austin Another newcomer to our events lineup, the iHeartRadio Music Awards, will be televised live from Los Angeles on NBC on May 1.”
Company officials described overall “a difficult advertising environment due to disruptive winter weather across the U.S.” but said they had “maintained our level of consolidated revenues, and also continued to invest in our businesses, to reinforce our foundation for growth,” in the words of Rich Bressler, president and chief financial officer. He said the Media + Entertainment business “flattened our management structure in order to move us closer to the business and make it run more efficiently.”
That “flattening” includes the recent creation of a Major Markets Operating Group led by four people, intended to “accelerate decision-making, increase flexibility and enhance focus on all of Media+Entertainment’s multi-platform assets.”