iHeartMedia Heads to Canada, Continuing International Digital Expansion

Bob Pittman Executive Suite - H 2013
Dustin Cohen

Bob Pittman Executive Suite - H 2013

The former Clear Channel, led by Bob Pittman, has signed an exclusive partnership with Canadian broadcaster Bell Media to get its iHeartRadio service over the border.

iHeartMedia is bringing its free digital radio and music streaming service to Canada.

The U.S. digital radio giant, formerly known as Clear Channel, has signed an exclusive pact with Canadian broadcaster Bell Media to launch the iHeartRadio brand in Canada by the summer.

iHeartMedia's all-in-one digital platform previously expanded into Australia and New Zealand as the company continues to push into international markets.

In Canada, the iHeartRadio digital app will feature live radio content from Bell Media's 106 radio stations across digital platforms, including mobile phones, tablets, car dashboards, gaming consoles, wearables and others. Bell Media also will bring iHeartMedia events, including music festivals, to Canada.

Randy Lennox, who ran Universal Music Canada before becoming Bell Media president, entertainment production and broadcasting, three months ago, told The Hollywood Reporter that the tie-up with iHeartMedia was a nod to the growing impact of digital radio. "With the inevitability of digital platforms, iHeartMedia looks to us to be such a smart and strategic player in that space," he said.

Lennox and other Bell Media executives recently met with iHeartMedia brass stateside to work out a deal for the U.S. brand's expansion into Canada as the Canuck broadcaster becomes an increasingly digital player. "What a better way to hold hands and jump into digital and into consumer electronics than with such a beloved brand," said Lennox.

iHeartMedia, which operates 859 radio stations stateside and iHeartMedia Digital with over 90 million digital monthly uniques, announced the exclusive Canadian partnership with Bell Media at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "Partnering with Bell Media and launching iHeartRadio to our neighbors in Canada is an important milestone in further expanding our international footprint,” said Michele Laven, president of business development and partnerships for iHeartMedia.

Lennox said Bell Media, which also operates Canada's top-rated CTV network and a stable of cable and pay TV channels, could down the road get its own content into the U.S. market via iHeartMedia. "This deal will have many positive chapters, and it certainly does not preclude a back-and-forth participation in all areas," he added.