Driving that rapid growth is the home-page placement iHeartRadio received in the App Store on Oct. 21, when downloads surged from the 2,500 range to 19,000. The app is currently streaming 12 Clear Channel stations, including Z100 in New York and DC101 in Washington, with plans to expand to more than 20 by year's end.
Evan Harrison, exec VP of Clear Channel's online music and radio unit, said the app has also grown the stations' cumulative streaming audience by 3% to 5% in its first two weeks.
"It's extremely encouraging ... that people are turning to our network and also experiencing different kinds of products not available on air," he said. IHeartRadio joins a suite of music-discovery sites Mr. Harrison's team has rolled out in recent months, including eRockster, an indie-music site launched at Coachella; Pride, a site aimed at the LGBT audience; and iHeartMusic, iHeartRadio's sibling site, still in beta, that aggregates all 1,100 of Clear Channel's stations.
Buy From FM platform
The incremental growth iHeartRadio has seen in just two weeks could lend some acceleration to the Buy From FM platform developed by Clear Channel and Microsoft, which currently allows radio listeners to purchase songs directly from FM tuners on the Microsoft Zune across 35 different radio stations. That initiative, coupled with a recent study from Paragon Research that found time spent listening to the iPod down 13% among 14- to 24-year-olds, has provoked major radio groups such as Clear Channel to ramp up their efforts to monetize their online platforms.
Mr. Harrison said Clear Channel stations have collectively added 10,000 new advertisers on a local and national basis in the past year based on the growth of their streaming online audiences. So a station that averages 35,000 and 50,000 on Arbitron's portable people meter, which measures time spent listening to radio on-air or in cars, can gain an additional 10% in audience through streaming. "You can certainly see the day when streaming listening is just as impactful as terrestrial," Mr. Harrison said.