ARN in ‘advanced discussions’ for several significant iHeartRadio partnerships

Former Editor & Content Director

The Australian Radio Network (ARN) has revealed it is in “advanced discussions” regarding “several significant partnership opportunities” for its digital audio platform iHeartRadio.

The non-specific announcement was part of ARN parent company HT&E’s financial results which were released this morning.

Pressed on what these partnerships could entail, managing director and CEO, Ciaran Davis, said more news would likely emerge this quarter.

Instead of elaborating on the partnerships to come, Davis drew attention to its existing relationship with iHeartMedia in the US, and the power and scale this gives it compared to competitors such as SCA’s new offering, LiSTNR.

“I think we’re in a fortunate position to partner with a global platform… We have that platform now until 2036,” Davis told Radio Today after the call with investors. “We have a lot of technical capability, AI intelligence, depth of content that we honestly couldn’t afford to try and build out ourselves here if we tried to do it.

“So partnering with someone like iHeart is a great advantage to us because not only are we pulling in our first-party data and monetising that, but we’re able to tap into their expertise and their learnings and the platform technology developed as well.”

This morning’s financial results also revealed there had been 19% growth in registered users for the platform, up to 1.9 million. There was also 14% growth in app downloads.

Davis said iHeartRadio is a “growth platform in its own right”, but noted that “integrated with the power of radio, it gives us a great ability”.

“Digital audio is certainly a platform for growth for us all, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our core business is radio, and it’s doing really well,” he told Radio Today. “Advertising is stating to come back, listenership is at an all-time high, and the effectiveness of the medium for advertisers is incredibly strong.”

He added that the company had been working on the integration of its radio and digital assets for some time, and how it moves people around within its own audio ecosystem. In the past six months, the company had learned a lot, he said.

“That’s obviously translating and transferring up to the sales teams who are looking at briefs, activities and sort of combining digital audio with broadcast radio. And things like new products that we rolled out in dynamic audio, that’s helping to do that as well.”

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24 Feb 2021 - 5:36 pm

As long as I can still listen to JJL, Bill Handel, Gary and Shannon and Conway on KFI I am happy.


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