The nation’s two largest broadcast radio groups have struck a deal to share digital advertising and content, which brings audio inventory from Cumulus Media’s 570 radio stations to Clear Channel Radio’s New iHeartRadio platform.
Plus, daily deals from Cumulus Media’s SweetJack social commerce platform will be promoted by Clear Channel radio stations.
The content-sharing deal will boost the number of radio stations with streaming audio on the New iHeartRadio from 800 to 1,370, as the Cumulus stations join hundreds of Clear Channel stations already available on the platform, which is accessible via the Web, mobile devices, and automobiles with smartphone integration.
Cumulus stations will advertise iHeartRadio on-air and feature a link to iHeartRadio on their station Web sites, while continuing to stream audio via those Web sites and their own mobile apps. The promotional deal for SweetJack should help boost the profile of Cumulus’ daily deal platform, which offers social commerce opportunities for a variety of local goods and services, including restaurants, spas, salons, retail stores and venues via a national platform of almost 1,400 stations and station Web sites.
According to Cumulus, since it launched in April, SweetJack has grown to over 1 million members in 16 markets nationwide. This is just the latest in a flurry of deals expanding iHeartRadio’s content offerings and distribution following its acquisition of Thumbplay in March of this year. They have allowed CCR to position the New iHeartRadio as a free alternative to Pandora by offering music on demand, custom stations and new listening suggestions based on users' preferences.
In September, CCR revealed that it was adding Spanish-language programming from Univision Radio to the New iHeartRadio platform. The content partnership -- the first third-party distribution relationship for the digital platform -- includes music, sports, and talk formats as well as leading AM and FM Spanish-language radio personalities.
Then in October, CCR signed a deal that brings the online and mobile service to Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming network. The iHeartRadio platform is available for free to members of Xbox Live Gold, Xbox 360's online entertainment service. It is the only digital radio service on Xbox Live. Last week, CCR announced that iHeartRadio’s custom channels would remain ad-free until April 1, extending an ad-free promotional period that was originally scheduled to run through the end of this year.