iHeartMedia Purchases Triton From the E.W. Scripps Company In $230 Million Deal

iHeartMedia Partners With WPP to Launch Project Listen, a New Audio Advertiser Initiative

iHeartMedia has purchased digital-audio and podcasting technology platform Triton from The E. W. Scripps Company.

iHeartMedia announced its $230 million Triton buyout today, via a formal release. Worth noting is that Scripps acquired the digital-audio tech and services company for $150 million in October of 2018, and the just-revealed $230 million sale “is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions” as well as regulatory approval.

San Antonio, Texas-headquartered iHeartMedia, which stated that its published podcasts attracted north of 29 million listeners in January, can now provide creators and advertisers “with an industry-leading full ad service package for streaming and podcasting no matter their size, reach or distribution method,” according to the release.

For reference, Triton operates in over 50 countries (with offices in New York, Sydney, Pretoria, Mauritius, and elsewhere) and emphasizes monetization by bolstering advertising infrastructure and measurement. Included in the latter are a “content delivery system” and a segment that crafts “ratings reports” based upon audience size.

iHeartMedia also intends to utilize this “vast array of infrastructure and measurement solutions” to both complement its existing offerings and to provide new promotional solutions for those in the digital-radio space. Moreover, the publicly traded business indicated in the release that the acquisition has rendered it “the first and only company in the audio market” to offer four audio-distribution methods (on-demand, broadcast, digital radio, and podcasting), besides servicing “all audio assets programmatically.”

Addressing the nearly quarter-billion-dollar Triton purchase in a statement, iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman said, in part: “Adding Triton Digital and its industry leading services to the iHeartMedia audio ecosystem establishes iHeartMedia as the only company with a total audio advertising technology and data solution.

“This acquisition further strengthens our position as the No. 1 audio company in America and provides unique — and critical — solutions for the industry and for advertisers,” concluded the former New York Mets minority owner Pittman.

In a broader sense, a number of entities have taken steps in recent months to maximize their advertising earnings – particularly by optimizing the ways in which they reach podcast listeners. Not expressly mentioned in iHeartMedia’s release is that Triton owns Omny Studio, which bills itself as “the complete audio management solution for podcasters and radio stations.”

With exclusive programs including The Joe Rogan Experience and Reba McEntire’s Living and Learning to its credit, Spotify in November dropped $235 million on podcast publishing and advertising platform Megaphone, for instance, as part of a wider expansion into non-audio entertainment. Finally, both Apple and Spotify are reportedly planning to debut podcast subscription services.

At the time of this piece’s publishing, iHeartMedia stock (IHRT) was up 1.08 percent on the day, to $14.97 per share. The E. W. Scripps Company stock (SSP), for its part, had jumped 5.01 percent from Tuesday’s close, to $18.45 per share.

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