Terrestrial radio may be the Justin Bieber of the industry -- widely popular but summarily dismissed by those with musical integrity and taste -- but Clear Channel (OTC: CCMO) may make a Bieber believer out of you yet.
The radio giant announced this morning that the iHeartRadio customized stations that it rolled out two months ago will continue to be commercial-free through the end of March. The streaming app feature was only supposed to remain free of advertising through the end of this year.
It's a surprising move when you consider the history of iHeartRadio. Clear Channel launched the app for Apple
September's debut of customized streaming was supposed to be a play for Pandora Media's
Let's not dismiss Clear Channel's chances. Stretching the commercial-free window is a bolder move than you think. It would seem to devalue its flagship terrestrial streaming feature, encouraging music-hungry -- and comedy-hungry -- smartphone owners and drivers to go the customized route sans ads.
Clearly there will be money to be made when Clear Channel decides to flip the switch. Ad revenue at Pandora soared 102% in its latest quarter, and Clear Channel already has the localized marketing teams in place to serve streaming ads with pinpoint accuracy. Giving music and comedy fans another three months of free uninterrupted content will make it that much more relevant. Clear Channel's decision to forgo near-term profits for long-term results is a brilliant move, and everyone else should be taking notes.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.