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Clear Channel President Talks Facebook's WhatsApp Acquisition, Competition

Bob Pittman
Michelle Gray/London Ent/Splash
Bob Pittman

UPDATED: The radio giant, led by CEO Bob Pittman, posted a wider fourth-quarter loss as media and entertainment revenue rose 2 percent.

CC Media Holdings, the parent company of radio giant Clear Channel, on Thursday reported a widened fourth-quarter loss.

The company, led by chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, posted a quarterly loss of $309.2 million, compared with a loss of $191.3 million in the year-ago period.

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Total revenue was virtually flat at $1.69 billion as media and entertainment unit revenue, which includes radio, edged up 2 percent.

"With our unmatched reach and unparalleled assets, we outperformed the radio market and capitalized on the growing out-of-the-home consumer trend in 2013," said Pittman.

During a conference call with analysts, management said Clear Channel remains well positioned to compete with the likes of Pandora, Spotify and SFX Entertainment.

Clear Channel Communications and CC Media president and CFO Rich Bressler was asked about Facebook's $19 billion deal for WhatsApp, which was announced Wednesday. "It's so much about social, it's so much about community," he said. "That's what radio is." He remarked that most Americans listen to radio every week.

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And he lauded the company's radio personalities. "People love" them and want to engage with them regularly by listening, Bressler said.

"At media and entertainment, we further expanded our events business, reaching nearly 4 billion social impressions with December’s Jingle Ball national tour, following up on September's iHeartRadio Music Festival's 2.3 billion social impressions," Pittman touted his company's events arm on Thursday. "We also partnered with The CW Network to air seven shows on broadcast TV, reaching over 50 million TV viewers."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai