Revenue Dip For iHeart
Yesterday iHeart announced its Q2 Earnings. The headline was a 3.5% decrease in topline revenue, which means they billed $30M less this year than in Q2’17. During Q1 the YoY decrease was 1%, so the rate of decline appears to be accelerating. Since iHeart is still in bankruptcy there wasn’t a formal Earnings call. Nor was there any mention of their earnings report in the iHeart-owned Inside Radio – I think that’s kind of ironic given how hard the publication beats its owner’s drum every other time the company has something to say. So much for balanced reporting, right?
Beyond just a challenge for iHeart, this is another sign of a significant revenue problem for all of Radio. Over the past few years the industry’s revenue has been flattish, which was held up as an example of an old school media platform who’s been holding its own in the face of digital innovation. However the times appear to be catching up to Radio. Three weeks ago I reported Emmis’s latest earnings were also down 4%, which seems suspiciously similar to iHeart’s decline. As you digest these numbers keep in mind that we’re in the middle of a political year. Ad spending by candidates and issues usually boosts revenue by a point or two. And then there’s the economy – hard to blame today’s business environment for Radio’s revenue slump.
To see Radio down in what’s supposed to be a “good” year could foretell a more significant problem for the entire industry. Worth keeping an eye on.