iHeartMedia is demonstrating its ambitions well beyond traditional radio at this week’s mammoth CES Show in Las Vegas. The company’s nameplate iHeartRadio streaming service has expanded its availability across a range of virtual assistants, chatbots, wearables and auto accessories.
Specifically, among new integrations for iHeartRadio on display at the show are the ability for listeners to access the streaming service through the launch of its first bot for Facebook Messenger; Samsung’s new voice service, Bixby, in which users can ask Bixby to play specific live and iHeartRadio original radio stations, create a custom artist station, and even set a sleep timer for Bixby to stop playing iHeartRadio after a set amount of time; Jibo, a social robot for the home; and Roku, whose users will now have access to iHeartRadio’s full feature set, including iHeartRadio All Access with instant song playback, unlimited skips, saving and replaying songs from live radio.
In addition, iHeartRadio will be available on the new Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, a GPS running watch with integrated music capabilities. As the first music partner available, iHeartRadio All Access users will be able to download playlists directly to the watch for offline listening.
Additionally, the company will tout new automotive updates with General Motors and Ford. iHeartRadio is now available to more than a million of 4G-LTE connected Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicle owners directly on their digital dashboard; while Ford will be the first OEM to fully integrate with iHeartRadio’s flagship mobile app, making all features available in car with safety in mind.
“In 2017, we built on iHeartRadio’s strong foundation of content access and discovery,” said Darren Davis, president of iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group. “Consumers are taking advantage of the ease and ubiquity of virtual assistants, smart speakers, set-top boxes and other connected devices, and in doing so, they’re proving that audio is an important part of their day-to-day life. As we look ahead in 2018, we will continue to innovate – blending the iHeartRadio experience seamlessly into the way listeners use the influx of these new smart devices – and as always, make iHeartRadio easily available on the products and platforms they use most.”
The 2018 announcements follow a milestone year for iHeartRadio. The company says that it recently surpassed 110 million registered users, alongside the 2017 launch of iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster; advances in podcast publishing; and topping 200 platform integrations, “making iHeartRadio available in cars, at home, on wearables, via gaming consoles, through virtual assistants and nearly everywhere listeners want to tune in,” the company said.