It will be interesting to see if other radio companies follow iHeart’s lead and reveal exactly how much revenue they are generating from podcasting. For the most part radio has been touting big podcast revenue increases but burying the actual number as digital revenue.
The new iHeart reporting structure brings the revenue number right out into the open for everyone to see. The $42 million generated in Q4 is a 100% increase over Q4 2019. iHeart has increased its podcasting revenue, for the most part, organically, after purchasing Stuff Media for $55 million over two years ago. Since then the company has been cutting deals with creators and launching its own original shows under the leadership of Conal Byrne.
Unlike some companies in the podcasting space trying to generate revenue from listeners by putting content behind a paywall, podcasts on iHeartRadio are free. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have over 850 radio stations to promote your podcasts. For example, according to Media Monitors, iHeart has been pushing The Office Deep Dive With Brian Baumgartner very hard the past few weeks. The podcast was released in the first week of February and iHeart has been running nearly 50,000 promos per week to push their collaboration with the actor.
In January, according to Podtrac, iHeart had nearly 540 podcasts, dwarfing NPR’s 47 shows, and a monthly audience for those 539 shows of over 29 million.
In addition to the 100% increase in Q4 podcasting revenue, iHeart reported January podcasting revenue was up 126%.
On Wednesday Entercom merely reported that podcasting was strong, not revealing any actual revenue numbers. On Tuesday, Cumulus reported that podcasting was now 40% of its digital revenue. In Q4 that made up about $9.6 million in podcasting revenue.