That’s what CEO Bob Pittman said on the iHeartMedia earnings call Thursday as the company reported an overall revenue increase of just under 20% to $843 million. Pittman said podcasting revenue jumped 79% over 2021 to $69 million.
Pittman said on the call that podcasting margins are greater than iHeart’s regular company margins. iHeart’s approach to podcasting is to create shows within the company, or to partner up with other creators and push and promote that content out on all of its platforms. CFO Rich Bressler called it a “building over buying” approach to the space.
The last big podcasting deal iHeart made was in 2018 when it purchased Stuff Media. Podtrac reported Thursday morning that iHeart pushed out 632 shows in April and pulled in over 441 million downloads. NPR’s 165 mllion downloads from 49 shows was a distant second. Pittman said, “we are big enough to be picky and not afraid to walk away” when it comes to content.
Digital now makes up 25% of iHeart’s overall revenue. Excluding podcasting in the quarter, digital revenue was $146 million in the first quarter, an increase of 22%. Pittman emphasized that using a multi-platform strategy, a digital transformation of the company is to priority.
iHeart’s multi-platform group which includes its radio station ad revenue grew 15% to $571 million. Broadcast radio was up 16.2%, network revenue was up 2.1% and events and sponsorships were up 50%.
The company expects revenue in Q2 to increase between 10% and 14%. April revenue was up 8% and May and June are pacing up in the mid to high teens.