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iHeart Sees Opportunity Combining Radio With On-Demand

Launches paid enhanced streaming services that include live station replays

With the CES show in Las Vegas as its backdrop, iHeartMedia has launched two new paid, on-demand services called “iHeartRadio Plus” and “iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster,” calling this a unique opportunity to capture non-music subscribers with an on-demand service “built around radio.”

As we’ve reported, these were rolled out recently in beta form.

The company is promoting its offerings as “the first fully differentiated streaming music services that use on-demand functionality to make radio truly interactive.” Darren Davis, president of iHeartRadio, made the announcement and cited strong interest from users in the beta phase.

The cost of iHeartRadio Plus is $4.99 per month. The enhanced iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster costs $9.99 per month. The existing iHeartRadio service remains in place and is still free.

The media firm says 84 percent of its current users do not subscribe to any on-demand service. It sought to differentiate itself from competitors by saying its streaming offerings provide the best of live radio and on-demand functionality, “unlike all current on-demand players that simply add on-demand functionality to a music collection experience.”

As iHeart sees it, “Ten times more Americans listen to radio every month than use a subscription service ­so the debut of iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster is a unique opportunity to capture these non-music subscribers with an on-demand service built around radio.” It said the functionality will be integrated across its own radio station and personality websites, where hosts and air talent can share personal playlists and top songs.

The basic version includes the ability to replay songs from both live and custom Artist Radio stations, then return to the station in progress. The user can save songs from those stations to personal playlists to play later; search and play songs from a big library; and use the “skip” feature without limit.

The All Access version also “allows them the convenience and accessibility of merely pushing a button to add a song immediately to their music collection at the same time they hear it on the radio — something no other music collection service can offer.” Subscribers can listen offline to their music and playlists; create and curate playlists; and have no playback cap. They can delete and sequence playlists and manage unlimited playlists.

Subscribers can access saved playlists on some models of Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One consoles, TiVo and other devices.

Also, the company said, the All Access version is now available for subscribers on more platforms including desktop and some consumer electronic devices; it was already on iOS and Android smartphones.

Separately the company announced integrations that bring its live radio, custom Artist Radio stations and podcasts to more consumer devices including Google Home and Samsung Family Hub.