Radio broadcaster iHeartMedia said it brought in around $811 million in revenue during its first financial quarter of 2023, a 3.8 percent decline compared to the $843 million the company brought in the previous year.
Around $223 million of iHeartMedia’s revenue for the quarter was attributed to its digital audio group business, which includes its podcast products, a 4 percent decline compared to 2022. Radio broadcast and other multiplatform revenue was down 7 percent to $529 million.
The revenue figures exceeded Wall Street expectations, a point that iHeartMedia executives were quick to point out in statements issued on Tuesday.
“While both the macroeconomic climate and the advertising marketplace remain uncertain, the audio and digital advertising markets appeared to be stronger in the quarter than we had initially anticipated,” Bob Pittman, the chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, said in a statement.
Pittman said the company’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) “will be approximately double” in the second quarter compared to the $93 million adjusted EBITDA reported during Q1 2023. iHeartMedia said its forecasting consolidated adjusted EBITDA between $180 million and $200 million during Q2 2023.
“We were pleased that we slightly exceeded our previously reported guidance for the quarter, with our consolidated revenues down 3.8% year-over-year compared to the guidance range we provided of down in the mid-single digits, and our Q1 Adjusted EBITDA of $93 million above the high end of the guidance range we provided,” Rich Bressler, the chief financial officer of iHeartMedia, said on Tuesday. “We remain committed to driving shareholder value, and while we can’t predict when the advertising marketplace will fully recover, we believe that our multiplatform revenues will continue to recover and that our Digital Audio Group revenues will continue to grow throughout 2023.”
Breaking down iHeartMedia’s earnings by sector, the company’s iHeartRadio broadcast outlets pulled in $383.2 million during the three-month period that ended March 31, a 7.7 percent dip compared to the $415.2 million earned this time last year. The dip was likely associated to lower political ad revenue and reflects a continued pullback in spending by companies who usually advertise on radio.
Podcast revenue came in 12 percent higher during Q1 2023 compared to the prior year, with iHeartMedia collecting $76.8 million from that business. iHeartMedia is one of the leading producers and distributors of podcasts, which are available through the iHeartRadio app and on popular platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and SiriusXM.
iHeartMedia and other radio broadcasters have increasingly looked to podcasts as one way to diversify its product offering beyond traditional AM and FM radio. The shift follows a move by consumers toward streaming audio platforms like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music for the music and talk programming needs, a trend that has impacted AM and FM radio audiences over the last few years.
iHeartMedia operates more than 860 AM and FM broadcast stations through the iHeartRadio subsidiary. The stations are located in over 160 radio markets across the country.