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iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman believes the advertising pullback seen across the media and entertainment industry won’t get any worse than it is now.
“I don’t sense that there’s something looming, I think we’re in it,” Pittman said Tuesday.
Pittman was speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference, and notably took that position after iHeartMedia, which owns more than 850 radio station as well as a podcasting business, beat second-quarter earnings expectations and saw its revenues grow 11 percent year over year. The year has not been as “robust” as expected, Pittman said, though iHeartMedia is still on track for its best EBITDA year on record.
In May, Pittman said the company saw a downturn in advertising in April, but expected May and June to climb higher.
Pittman said he believes advertisers have not pulled back as much as in previous economic downturns because of how close this period is to the start of the pandemic, which saw a huge impact on advertising and all business sectors.
And now, iHeartMedia is building its business assuming this is as bad as it gets.
Pittman continues to see advertising growth ahead, particularly in the broadcast radio space, as more companies build unified ad platforms and follow the consumer into that area. He noted that the advertising load on podcasts still remains relatively low, but that the ads are sold at premium prices. The ad load on podcasts may grow if there is stronger demand, he said.
However, Pittman says he believes the podcast industry has shifted from a state of rapid expansion to one in which the top brands and podcasts get bigger, but other smaller shows may find it harder to catch up.
“I think we’re in the consolidation phase,” he said.
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