Clear Channel is actually a small competitor in the new Digital Out Of Home marketplace. Vista Media in the U.S. owns 90% of these new digital billboards in the U.S. (PMG) meanwhile these digital billboard formats already make up 50% of Clear Channel’s present revenue — the demand is growing but Clear Channel has less than 10% of the locations in the market place.
At the same time, iHeart, that is struggling with $20Bn of debt is also taking money out of Clear Channel to pay the interest (iHeart Media). iHeart’s sinkhole is too big for Clear Channel to service because it is facing this new type of innovation in its billboard business and to keep up it has to upgrade all of its paper billboard locations to digital displays. How many locations that is, they all make up the other 50% of Clear Channel’s revenue while the company has to compete with just 10% of the market, much of that money going to pay off iHeart’s debt. In other words, Clear Channel’s entire paper billboard inventory is the same as just 10% of the digital billboard marketplace. There are many advantages and conveniences for advertisers and benefits to the public in using digital billboards (Campaign Live). Digital billboard are cheaper to rent and operate, than conventional billboards. They are also VAST compliant, meaning they can run ‘rich media web ads’ by online trade desks. Advertisers are spending 1/3 of OOH budgets on them. Vendors are upgrading locations replacing paper billboards.
If iHeart goes into receivership, smaller debts have to take a backseat to the $20Bn it owes to that investment bank. That includes artists and event ticket sales.