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iHeart Announces New Partnerships at CES

Bell Media to partner in Canada; virtual reality deal with UMG

Continuing its series of International CES announcements, iHeartMedia has announced a north-of-the-border partnership with Canadian radio and TV station group owner Bell Media and a “virtual reality” agreement with Universal Music Group.

The Bell Media agreement covers the multiplatform streaming of Bell Media radio stations and content under the iHeartRadio brand along with iHeartRadio-branded events throughout Canada.

iHeartRadio President Darren Davis said, “This partnership allows us to connect with even more music fans and radio listeners and we know Canadians will enjoy the service as much as our listeners in the U.S.”

The agreement with Universal Music Group is “focused around virtual reality that will enable the companies to connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors in a series of revolutionary, fully immersive entertainment experiences.”

A release explained: “The companies will create entertainment experiences that leverage cutting-edge technology, making immersive VR performances and experiences accessible to U.S. audiences for the first time at scale. In addition, UMG and iHeartMedia will invite brands to partner with them to develop, produce and distribute these one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences, using integrated approaches to connect their brands and products to both artists and consumers.”

Immediate benefits, according to the release, say that a “VR experience by a UMG artist will be added to each major marquee iHeartMedia event in 2016, including the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeartRadio Country Festival, the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party, the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, with this first-ever VR music series launching at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3, 2016.” There will be additional dedicated virtual reality events as well.