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Audacy Looks to Streaming Post-Bankruptcy as Audio Media Becomes Subscription-Based

young man streaming audio on smartphone

With consumers increasingly getting their audio broadcasting from subscription platforms, Audacy is looking to streaming in its bankruptcy recovery.

As Inside Radio reported Monday (Jan. 22), the internet radio and podcast giant, as part of its plans to bounce back from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing earlier this month, plans to debut a subscription streaming platform that the company estimates could bring in up to $20 million in revenue by 2027.

“We anticipate that like other traditional media, over-the-air listening erosion will persist while reach remains strong, and consumption continues to fragment and shifts toward digital devices,” the broadcasting firm reportedly stated in the business plan.

Audacy announced weeks ago that it had reached an agreement with a supermajority of its debtholders

“Over the past few years, we have strategically transformed Audacy into a leading, scaled multi-platform audio content and entertainment company through our acquisition of CBS Radio and by building leading complementary positions in podcasting, audio networks, live events, digital marketing solutions and our direct-to-consumer [D2C] streaming platform,” Audacy Chairman, President and CEO David J. Field said in a statement at the time.

He added that the “perfect storm of sustained macroeconomic challenges over the past four years” have reduced the ad spending coming into radio, a downturn that makes D2C streaming all the more attractive as an alternative.

Broadcasting companies are increasingly turning to streaming subscription models to boost their performance going forward. Last month, for instance, broadcasting giant SiriusXM launched its new streaming app, which includes personalized recommendations, new discovery features, a revamped audio library and more — a move that came in an effort to acquire and secure the loyalty of younger listeners.

In November, meanwhile, British broadcasting mainstay the BBC launched its BBC Podcasts Premium subscription in 166 additional countries.

The opportunity with young consumers is significant. According to research featured last year in the Subscription Commerce Tracker, a PYMNTS and Vindicia collaboration, Gen Z spends the most on subscriptions, paying $377 a month.

Yet while consumers may increasingly be consuming audio content via streaming subscription, moves into the space are not a surefire hit, given the stiff competition for listeners’ spending and loyalty.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report “The One-Stop Bill Pay Playbook: Drivers of Consumers’ Bill Payment Priorities,” created in collaboration with Mastercard, which drew from a survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers, revealed that when people are unable to pay all their bills, streaming subscriptions are the most likely to get canceled. In fact, 55% of consumers said they would cancel these services, a greater share than said the same of any other monthly bill, while only 17% would prioritize paying this bill in full over others.

As Audacy seeks to recover from bankruptcy, the launch of its subscription streaming platform represents a strategic move to tap into the growing digital audio consumption trend amid the decline in traditional radio. However, the company will need to navigate the challenges posed by stiff competition, as more players enter the space, and by consumers’ budgetary constraints.