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EX-31 - CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER PURSUANT TO SECTION 302 - iHeartCommunications, Inc.Exhibit31.1.htm
EX-31 - CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PURSUANT TO SECTION 302 - iHeartCommunications, Inc.Exhibit31.2.htm
EX-32 - CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER PURSUANT TO SECTION 906 - iHeartCommunications, Inc.Exhibit32.2.htm
EX-21 - SUBSIDIARIES - iHeartCommunications, Inc.Exhibit21.htm
EX-32 - CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER PURSUANT TO SECTION 906 - iHeartCommunications, Inc.Exhibit32.1.htm

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

[X]          Annual report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

                For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, or

[  ]           Transition report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

                For the transition period from ________ to _________.

 

Commission File Number 001-09645

 

IHEARTCOMMUNICATIONS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Texas

74-1787539

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

200 East Basse Road, Suite 100

San Antonio, Texas

78209

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip code)

 

(210) 822-2828

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:  None

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:  None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  YES [  ]  NO  [X]

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.  YES [  ]  NO [X]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES [X] NO [  ]

The registrant meets the conditions set forth in General Instructions I(1)(a) and (b) of Form 10-K as, among other things, all of the registrant’s equity securities are owned indirectly by iHeartMedia, Inc., which is a reporting company under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and which has filed with the SEC all materials required to be filed pursuant to Section 13, 14 or 15(d) thereof, and the registrant is therefore filing this Form 10-K with a reduced disclosure format.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).YES [X] NO [  ]

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  [X]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.  Large accelerated filer [  ] Accelerated filer [ ] Non-accelerated filer [X] Smaller reporting company [  ]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Exchange Act Rule 12b-2).  YES [  ] NO [X]

The registrant has no voting or nonvoting equity held by non-affiliates.

On February 22, 2016, there were 500,000,000 outstanding shares of common stock.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None.

 


 

IHEARTCOMMUNICATIONS, INC.

INDEX TO FORM 10-K

Page

Number

PART I

 

Item 1.         Business....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

 

Item 1A.      Risk Factors.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 16

 

Item 1B.      Unresolved Staff Comments................................................................................................................................................................. 26

 

Item 2.         Properties................................................................................................................................................................................................... 26

 

Item 3.         Legal Proceedings.................................................................................................................................................................................... 26

 

Item 4.         Mine Safety Disclosures......................................................................................................................................................................... 27

 

PART II

 

Item 5.         Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases  

                       of Equity Securities................................................................................................................................................................................. 29

 

Item 6.         Selected Financial Data.......................................................................................................................................................................... 30

 

Item 7.         Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations................................................... 31

 

Item 7A.      Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk ....................................................................................................... 73

 

Item 8.         Financial Statements and Supplementary Data ............................................................................................................................... 74

 

Item 9.         Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure.................................................. 114

 

Item 9A.      Controls and Procedures...................................................................................................................................................................... 114

 

Item 9B.      Other Information................................................................................................................................................................................. 116

 

PART III

 

Item 10.       Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance (intentionally omitted pursuant

                       to General Instruction I(2)(c) of Form 10-K)................................................................................................................................... 117

 

Item 11.       Executive Compensation (intentionally omitted pursuant to General Instruction I(2)(c)

                       of Form 10-K)........................................................................................................................................................................................ 117

 

Item 12.       Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related  

                       Stockholder Matters (intentionally omitted pursuant to General Instruction I(2)(c) of Form 10-K)..................................... 117

 

Item 13.       Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence (intentionally

                       omitted pursuant to General Instruction I(2)(c) of Form 10-K)................................................................................................... 117

 

Item 14.       Principal Accounting Fees and Services............................................................................................................................................ 117

 

PART IV

 

Item 15.       Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules................................................................................................................................... 118

 

 


 

PART I

ITEM 1.  Business

The Company

 

               iHeartCommunications, Inc., (the “Company”) is a Texas corporation with all of its outstanding shares of common stock held by iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of iHeartMedia, Inc. (“Parent”).

  

               Parent was formed in May 2007 by private equity funds sponsored by Bain Capital Partners, LLC (“Bain Capital”) and Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”) (together, the “Sponsors”) to effect the acquisition of the Company by Parent. On July 30, 2008, Parent acquired the Company. The acquisition was effected by the merger of an entity formed by the Sponsors, then an indirect subsidiary of Parent, with and into the Company. As a result of the merger, the Company became an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Parent. Upon the consummation of the merger, Parent became a public company and the Company was no longer a public company.

Our corporate headquarters are in San Antonio, Texas and we have executive offices in New York, New York. Our headquarters are located at 200 East Basse Road, Suite 100, San Antonio, Texas 78209 (telephone: 210-822-2828).

 

Our Business Segments

We are a diversified media and entertainment company with three reportable business segments:  iHeartMedia (“iHM”); Americas outdoor advertising (“Americas outdoor”); and International outdoor advertising (“International outdoor”).  Our iHM segment provides media and entertainment services via live broadcast and digital delivery and also includes our national syndication business.  Our Americas outdoor and International outdoor segments provide outdoor advertising services in their respective geographic regions using various digital and traditional display types.  Our Americas outdoor segment consists of operations primarily in the United States, Canada and Latin America.  Our International outdoor segment consists of operations primarily in Europe, Asia and Australia.  Our “Other” category includes our full-service media representation business, Katz Media Group (“Katz Media”), as well as other general support services and initiatives that are ancillary to our other businesses.  For the year ended December 31, 2015, the iHM segment represented 53% of total revenues. For the year ended December 31, 2015, Americas outdoor represented 22% and International outdoor represented 23% of total revenues.

 

We are a leading global media and entertainment company specializing in broadcast and digital radio, out-of-home, mobile and on-demand entertainment and information services for national audiences and local communities while providing premium opportunities for advertisers.  Through our strong capabilities and unique collection of assets, we have the ability to deliver compelling content as well as innovative, effective marketing campaigns for advertisers and marketing, creative and strategic partners in the United States and internationally

 

We focus on building the leadership position of our diverse global assets and maximizing our financial performance while serving our local communities. We continue to invest strategically in our digital platforms, including the development of continued enhancements to iHeartRadio, our integrated digital radio platform, and the ongoing deployment of digital outdoor displays.  In addition, we intend to implement automated/programmatic sales infrastructure and capability.  We intend to continue to execute our strategies while closely managing expenses and focusing on achieving operating efficiencies across our businesses. We share best practices across our businesses and markets to replicate our successes throughout the markets in which we operate.

 

For more information about our revenue, gross profit and assets by segment and our revenue and long-lived assets by geographic area, see Note 11 to our Consolidated Financial Statements located in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

iHM

Our iHM operations include broadcast and digital radio, online and mobile services and products, program syndication, entertainment, traffic and weather data distribution and music research services.  Our radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM stations, HD digital radio stations, satellite radio, at iHeartRadio.com and our radio stations’ websites, and through our iHeartRadio mobile application on smart phones and tablets, on gaming consoles, via in-home entertainment, in enhanced automotive platforms and navigation systems.

 

As of December 31, 2015, we owned 861 domestic radio stations servicing more than 150 U.S. markets, including 44 of the top 50 markets and 84 of the top 100 markets.  In addition, we provide programming and sell air time on one radio station owned by a third-party under a local marketing agreement.  We are also the beneficiary of Aloha Station Trust, LLC, which owns and operates 15 radio stations, and the Brunswick Trust, which owns and operates 1 radio station, all of which we were required to divest in order to comply with Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) media ownership rules, and which are being marketed for sale.

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In addition to our local radio programming, we also operate Premiere Networks (“Premiere”), a national radio network that produces, distributes or represents more than 100 syndicated radio programs and serves more than 5,500 radio station affiliates.  We also deliver real-time traffic and weather information via navigation systems, radio and television broadcast media and wireless and Internet-based services through our traffic business, Total Traffic & Weather Network.

 

We also promote, produce and curate special nationally-recognized events for our listeners and advertising partners, including the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party, the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Concert Tour, the iHeart Country Festival, the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina and our new iHeart 80s Party.

 

Strategy

Our iHM strategy centers on delivering entertaining and informative content across multiple platforms, including broadcast, mobile and digital as well as events.  We strive to serve our listeners by providing the content they desire on the platform they prefer, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with a diverse platform of creative marketing opportunities designed to effectively reach and engage target audiences.  Our iHM strategy also focuses on continuing to improve the operations of our stations by providing valuable programming and promotions, as well as sharing best practices across our stations in marketing, distribution, sales and cost management.

 

Promote Broadcast Radio Media Spending.  Given the attractive reach and metrics of both the broadcast radio industry in general and iHM in particular, as well as our depth and breadth of relationships with both media agencies and national and local advertisers, we believe we can drive broadcast radio’s share of total media spending by using our dedicated national sales team to highlight the value of broadcast radio relative to other media.  We have made and continue to make significant investments in research to enable our clients to better understand how our assets can successfully reach their target audiences and promote their advertising campaigns; broadened our national sales teams and initiatives to better develop, create and promote their advertising campaigns; invested in technology to enhance our platform and capabilities; and continue to seek opportunities to deploy our iHeartRadio digital radio service across both existing and emerging devices and platforms. We are also working closely with advertisers, marketers and agencies to meet their needs through new products, events and services developed through optimization of our current portfolio of assets, as well as to develop tools to determine how effective broadcast radio is in reaching their desired audiences.

 

Promote Local and National Advertising.  We intend to grow our iHM businesses by continuing to develop effective programming, creating new solutions for our advertisers and agencies, fostering key relationships with advertisers and improving our local and national sales teams. We intend to leverage our diverse collection of assets, our programming and creative strengths, and our consumer relationships to create events, such as one-of-a-kind local and national promotions for our listeners, and develop new, innovative technologies and products to promote our advertisers.  We seek to maximize revenue by closely managing our advertising opportunities and pricing to compete effectively in local markets. We operate price and yield information systems, which provide detailed inventory information. These systems enable our station managers and sales directors to adjust commercial inventory and pricing based on local market demand, as well as to manage and monitor different commercial durations (60 second, 30 second, 15 second and five second) in order to provide more effective advertising for our customers at what we believe are optimal prices given market conditions.

 

Continue to Enhance the Listener Experience.  We intend to continue enhancing the listener experience by offering a wide variety of compelling content and methods of delivery.  We will continue to provide the content our listeners desire on their preferred platforms.  Our investments have created a collection of leading on-air talent. For example, Premiere offers more than 100 syndicated radio programs and services for more than 5,500 radio station affiliates across the United States, including popular programs featuring top talent such as Ryan Seacrest, Big Boy, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Steve Harvey, Elvis Duran, Bobby Bones and Delilah. Our distribution capabilities allow us to attract top talent and more effectively utilize programming, sharing our best and most compelling content across many stations.

 

Continue to Deliver Nationally-Recognized Live Events.  We intend to continue to deliver nationally-recognized live events to our listeners, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party, the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Concert Tour, the iHeart Country Festival, the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina and our new iHeart 80s Party, featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry.

 

Deliver Content via Multiple Distribution Technologies.  We continue to expand the choices for our listeners. We deliver music, news, talk, sports, traffic and other content using an array of distribution technologies, including broadcast and digital radio and HD radio channels, satellite radio, digitally via iHeartRadio.com and our stations’ websites, and through our iHeartRadio mobile application on smart phones and tablets, on gaming consoles, via in-home entertainment, in enhanced automotive platforms, as well as in-vehicle entertainment and navigation systems.  Some examples of our recent initiatives are as follows:

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·         Streaming.   We provide streaming content via the Internet, mobile and other digital platforms. We rank among the top streaming networks in the U.S. with regards to Average Active Sessions (“AAS”), Session Starts (“SS”) and Average Time Spent Listening (“ATSL”).  AAS and SS measure the level of activity while ATSL measures the ability to keep the audience engaged.

 

·         Websites and Mobile Applications.  We have developed mobile and Internet applications such as the iHeartRadio smart phone and tablet applications and website and websites for our stations and personalities. These mobile and Internet applications allow listeners to use their smart phones, tablets or other digital devices to interact directly with stations, find titles/artists, request songs and create custom and personalized stations while providing an additional method for advertisers to reach consumers. As of December 31, 2015, our iHeartRadio mobile application has been downloaded more than 800 million times (including updates). iHeartRadio provides a unique digital music experience by offering access to more than 2,100 live broadcast and digital-only radio stations, plus user-created custom stations with broad social media integration and our on demand content from our premium talk partnerships and user generated talk shows.

 

Sources of Revenue

Our iHM segment generated 53%, 50%, and 50% of our revenue for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.  The primary source of revenue in our iHM segment is the sale of advertising on our radio stations for local and national advertising.  Our iHeartRadio mobile application and website, our station websites, national live events and Total Traffic & Weather Network also provide additional means for our advertisers to reach consumers. We also generate revenues from network compensation, our online services, our traffic business, events and other miscellaneous transactions.  These other sources of revenue supplement our traditional advertising revenue without increasing on-air advertising time.

 

Our advertisers cover a wide range of categories, including consumer services, retailers, entertainment, health and beauty products, telecommunications, automotive, media and political.  Our contracts with our advertisers range from less than one-year to multi-year terms.

 

Each radio station’s local sales staff solicits advertising directly from local advertisers or indirectly through advertising agencies.  Our ability to produce content that respond to the specific needs of our advertisers helps to build local direct advertising relationships.  To generate national advertising sales, we leverage national sales teams and engage our Katz Media unit, which specializes in soliciting radio advertising sales on a national level for us and other radio and television companies.  National sales representatives such as Katz Media obtain advertising principally from advertising agencies located outside the station’s market and receive commissions based on advertising sold.

 

Advertising rates are principally based on the length of the spot and how many people in a targeted audience listen to our stations, as measured by independent ratings services.  A station’s format can be important in determining the size and characteristics of its listening audience, and advertising rates are influenced by the station’s ability to attract and target audiences that advertisers aim to reach.  The size of the market influences rates as well, with larger markets typically receiving higher rates than smaller markets.  Rates are generally highest during morning and evening commuting periods.

 

Radio Stations

As of December 31, 2015, we owned 861 radio stations, including 247 AM and 614 FM radio stations, of which 148 stations were in the top 25 markets.  All of our radio stations are located in the United States. No one station is material to our overall operations.  We believe that our properties are in good condition and suitable for our operations.

 

Radio broadcasting is subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC under the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the “Communications Act”).  As described in “Regulation of Our iHeartMedia Business” below, the FCC grants us licenses in order to operate our radio stations.  The following table provides the number of owned radio stations in the top 25 Nielsen-ranked markets within our iHM segment.

 

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Nielsen

 

 

 

Number

Market

 

 

 

of

Rank(1)

 

Market

 

Stations

1

 

New York, NY

 

6

2

 

Los Angeles, CA

 

8

3

 

Chicago, IL

 

7

4

 

San Francisco, CA

 

7

5

 

Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX

 

6

6

 

Houston-Galveston, TX

 

6

7

 

Washington, DC

 

7

8

 

Atlanta, GA

 

7

9

 

Philadelphia, PA

 

6

10

 

Boston, MA

 

5

11

 

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, FL

 

7

12

 

Detroit, MI

 

6

13

 

Seattle-Tacoma, WA

 

6

14

 

Phoenix, AZ

 

8

16

 

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

 

6

17

 

San Diego, CA

 

7

18

 

Denver-Boulder, CO

 

8

19

 

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

 

8

21

 

Baltimore, MD

 

4

22

 

St. Louis, MO

 

6

23

 

Portland, OR

 

7

24

 

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC

 

4

25

 

Riverside-San Bernardino, CA

 

6

 

 

Total Top 25 Markets

 

148

 

(1)        Source: Fall 2015 NielsenAudio Radio Market Rankings.

  

 

Premiere Networks

We operate Premiere, a national radio network that produces, distributes or represents more than 100 syndicated radio programs and services for more than 5,500 radio station affiliates.  Our broad distribution capabilities enable us to attract and retain top programming talent. Some of our more popular syndicated programs feature top talent including Ryan Seacrest, Big Boy, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Steve Harvey, Elvis Duran, Bobby Bones and Delilah.  We believe recruiting and retaining top talent is an important component of the success of our radio networks.

 

Total Traffic & Weather Network

Total Traffic & Weather Network delivers real-time local traffic flow and incident information along with weather updates to more than 1,800 radio and approximately 130 television affiliates, as well as through Internet and mobile partnerships, reaching over 200 million consumers each month. Total Traffic & Weather Network services more than 190 markets in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It operates the largest broadcast traffic navigation network in North America and has expanded its offerings to include news and sports content.

 

Competition

Our broadcast radio stations, as well as our mobile and digital applications and our traffic business, compete for listeners and advertising revenues directly with other radio stations within their respective markets, as well as with other advertising media, including broadcast and cable television, online, print media, outdoor advertising, satellite radio, direct mail and other forms of advertisement.  In addition, the radio broadcasting industry is subject to competition from services that use media technologies such as Internet-based media, mobile applications and other digital radio services. Such services reach national and local audiences with multi-channel, multi-format, digital radio services.

 

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Our broadcast radio stations compete for listeners primarily on the basis of program content that appeals to a particular demographic group.  Our targeted listener base of specific demographic groups in each of our markets allows us to attract advertisers seeking to reach those listeners.

 

Americas Outdoor Advertising

We are one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in North America (based on revenues), which includes the United States, Canada and Latin America.  Approximately 90% of our revenue in our Americas outdoor advertising segment was derived from the United States in each of the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  As of December 31, 2015, we own or operate approximately 107,000 display structures in our Americas outdoor segment with operations in 44 of the 50 largest markets in the United States, including all of the 20 largest markets.

 

In the first quarter of 2016, Americas outdoor sold nine non-strategic outdoor markets including Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines, Iowa, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, Portland, Oregon, Reno, Nevada, Seattle, Washington and Wichita, Kansas for approximately $602 million in cash and certain advertising assets in Florida.

 

Our Americas outdoor assets consist of traditional and digital billboards, street furniture and transit displays, airport displays and wallscapes and other spectaculars, which we own or operate under lease management agreements. Our Americas outdoor advertising business is focused on metropolitan areas with dense populations.

 

Strategy

We seek to capitalize on our Americas outdoor network and diversified product mix to maximize revenue. In addition, by sharing best practices among our business segments, we believe we can quickly and effectively replicate our successes in our other markets.  Our outdoor strategy focuses on pursuing the technology of digital displays, as well as leveraging our diversified product mix and long-standing presence in many of our existing markets, which provides us with the ability to launch new products and test new initiatives in a reliable and cost-effective manner.

 

Promote Outdoor Media Spending.  Given the attractive industry fundamentals of outdoor media and our depth and breadth of relationships with both local and national advertisers, we believe we can drive outdoor advertising's share of total media spending by using our dedicated national sales team to highlight the value of outdoor advertising relative to other media.  Outdoor advertising only represented 4% of total dollars spent on advertising in the United States in 2015. We have made and continue to make significant investments in research tools that enable our clients to better understand how our displays can successfully reach their target audiences and promote their advertising campaigns. Also, we are working closely with clients, advertising agencies and other diversified media companies to develop more sophisticated systems that will provide improved audience metrics for outdoor advertising. 

 

Continue to Deploy Digital Displays.  Our long-term strategy for our outdoor advertising businesses includes pursuing the technology of digital displays, including flat screens, LCDs and LEDs, as additions to traditional methods of displaying our clients’ advertisements. Digital outdoor advertising provides significant advantages over traditional outdoor media. Our electronic displays are linked through centralized computer systems to instantaneously and simultaneously change advertising copy on a large number of displays, allowing us to sell more advertising opportunities to advertisers. The ability to change copy by time of day and quickly change messaging based on advertisers’ needs creates additional flexibility for our customers. Although digital displays require more capital to construct compared to traditional bulletins, the advantages of digital allow us to penetrate new accounts and categories of advertisers, as well as serve a broader set of needs for existing advertisers. Digital displays allow for high-frequency, 24-hour advertising changes in high-traffic locations and allow us to offer our clients optimal flexibility, distribution, circulation and visibility. We expect this trend to continue as we increase our quantity of digital inventory. As of December 31, 2015, we had deployed more than 1,200 digital billboards in 37 markets in the United States.

 

Sources of Revenue

Americas outdoor generated 22%, 21% and 22% of our revenue in 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.  Americas outdoor revenue is derived from the sale of advertising copy placed on our traditional and digital displays.  Our display inventory consists primarily of billboards, street furniture displays and transit displays.  The margins on our billboard contracts, including those related to digital billboards, tend to be higher than those on contracts for other displays, due to their greater size, impact and location along major roadways that are highly trafficked.  Billboards comprise approximately two-thirds of our display revenues.  The following table shows the approximate percentage of revenue derived from each category for our Americas outdoor inventory:

 

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Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

 

 

Billboards:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulletins

58%

 

58%

 

56%

 

 

 

Posters

12%

 

12%

 

12%

 

 

Street furniture displays

6%

 

7%

 

7%

 

 

Transit displays

15%

 

16%

 

16%

 

 

Spectaculars/wallscapes

5%

 

3%

 

4%

 

 

Other

4%

 

4%

 

5%

 

 

Total

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

 

Our Americas outdoor segment generates revenues from local and national sales.  Our advertising rates are based on a number of different factors including location, competition, size of display, illumination, market and gross ratings points.  Gross ratings points are the total number of impressions delivered, expressed as a percentage of a market population, of a display or group of displays.  The number of impressions delivered by a display is measured by the number of people passing the site during a defined period of time.  For all of our billboards in the United States, we use independent, third-party auditing companies to verify the number of impressions delivered by a display. 

 

While location, price and availability of displays are important competitive factors, we believe that providing quality customer service and establishing strong client relationships are also critical components of sales.  In addition, we have long-standing relationships with a diversified group of advertising brands and agencies that allow us to diversify client accounts and establish continuing revenue streams.

 

Billboards

Our billboard inventory primarily includes bulletins and posters.

 

·         Bulletins.   Bulletins vary in size, with the most common size being 14 feet high by 48 feet wide.  Digital bulletins display static messages that resemble standard printed bulletins when viewed, but also allow advertisers to change messages throughout the course of a day, and may display advertisements for multiple customers.  Our electronic displays are linked through centralized computer systems to instantaneously and simultaneously change advertising copy as needed.  Because of their greater size, impact, high-frequency and 24-hour advertising changes, we typically receive our highest rates for digital bulletins.  Almost all of the advertising copy displayed on traditional bulletins is computer printed on vinyl and transported to the bulletin where it is secured to the display surface.  Bulletins generally are located along major expressways, primary commuting routes and main intersections that are highly visible and heavily trafficked.  Our clients may contract for individual bulletins or a network of bulletins, meaning the clients’ advertisements are rotated among bulletins to increase the reach of the campaign.  Our client contracts for bulletins, either traditional or digital, generally have terms ranging from four weeks to one year.

·         Posters.   Traditional posters are approximately 11 feet high by 23 feet wide, and the traditional junior posters are approximately 5 feet high by 11 feet wide.  Digital posters are available in addition to the traditional poster-size and junior poster-size.  Similar to digital bulletins, digital posters display static messages that resemble standard printed posters when viewed, and are linked through centralized computer systems to instantaneously and simultaneously change messages throughout the course of a day.  Advertising copy for traditional posters is digitally printed on a single piece of polyethylene material that is then transported and secured to the poster surfaces.  Advertising copy for traditional junior posters is printed using silk screen, lithographic or digital process to transfer the designs onto paper that is then transported and secured to the poster surfaces.  Posters generally are located in commercial areas on primary and secondary routes near point-of-purchase locations, facilitating advertising campaigns with greater demographic targeting than those displayed on bulletins.  Our poster rates typically are less than our bulletin rates, and our client contracts for posters generally have terms ranging from four weeks to one year.  Premiere displays, which consist of premiere panels and squares, are innovative hybrids between bulletins and posters that we developed to provide our clients with an alternative for their targeted marketing campaigns.  The premiere displays use one or more poster panels, but with vinyl advertising stretched over the panels similar to bulletins.  Our intent is to combine the creative impact of bulletins with the additional reach and frequency of posters.

 

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Street Furniture Displays

Our street furniture displays include advertising surfaces on bus shelters, information kiosks, freestanding units and other public structures, are available in both traditional and digital formats, and are primarily located in major metropolitan areas and along major commuting routes.  Generally, we are responsible for the construction and maintenance of street furniture structures.  Contracts for the right to place our street furniture displays in the public domain and sell advertising space on them are awarded by municipal and transit authorities in competitive bidding processes governed by local law.  Generally, these contracts have terms ranging from 10 to 20 years.  As compensation for the right to sell advertising space on our street furniture structures, we pay the municipality or transit authority a fee or revenue share that is either a fixed amount or a percentage of the revenue derived from the street furniture displays.  Typically, these revenue sharing arrangements include payments by us of minimum guaranteed amounts.  Client contracts for street furniture displays typically have terms ranging from four weeks to one year, and are typically for network packages of multiple street furniture displays.

 

Transit Displays

Our transit displays are advertising surfaces on various types of vehicles or within transit systems, including on the interior and exterior sides of buses, trains, trams, and within the common areas of rail stations and airports, and are available in both traditional and digital formats.  Similar to street furniture, contracts for the right to place our displays on such vehicles or within such transit systems and to sell advertising space on them generally are awarded by public transit authorities in competitive bidding processes or are negotiated with private transit operators.  Generally, these contracts have terms ranging from five to ten years.  Our client contracts for transit displays generally have terms ranging from four weeks to one year.

 

Other Displays

The balance of our display inventory consists of spectaculars and wallscapes.  Spectaculars are customized display structures that often incorporate video, multidimensional lettering and figures, mechanical devices and moving parts and other embellishments to create special effects.  The majority of our spectaculars are located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Times Square in New York City and the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto.  Client contracts for spectaculars typically have terms of one year or longer.  A wallscape is a display that drapes over or is suspended from the sides of buildings or other structures.  Generally, wallscapes are located in high-profile areas where other types of outdoor advertising displays are limited or unavailable.  Clients typically contract for individual wallscapes for extended terms. 

 

Advertising Inventory and Markets

As of December 31, 2015, we owned or operated approximately 107,000 display structures in our Americas outdoor advertising segment with operations in 44 of the 50 largest markets in the United States, including all of the 20 largest markets.  Therefore, no one property is material to our overall operations.  We believe that our properties are in good condition and suitable for our operations.

 

In the first quarter of 2016, we sold our outdoor business in nine non-strategic markets.

 

Our displays are located on owned land, leased land or land for which we have acquired permanent easements.  The majority of the advertising structures on which our displays are mounted require permits.  Permits are granted for the right to operate an advertising structure as long as the structure is used in compliance with the laws and regulations of the applicable jurisdiction.

 

Production

In a majority of our markets, our local production staff performs the full range of activities required to create and install advertising copy.  Production work includes creating the advertising copy design and layout, coordinating its printing and installing the copy on displays.  We provide creative services to smaller advertisers and to advertisers not represented by advertising agencies.  National advertisers often use preprinted designs that require only installation.  Our creative and production personnel typically develop new designs or adopt copy from other media for use on our inventory.  Our creative staff also can assist in the development of marketing presentations, demonstrations and strategies to attract new clients.

Construction and Operation

We typically own the physical structures on which our clients’ advertising copy is displayed.  We build some of the structures at our billboard fabrication business in Illinois and erect them on sites we either lease or own or for which we have acquired permanent easements.  The site lease terms generally range from one to 20 years.  In addition to the site lease, we must obtain a permit to build the sign.  Permits are typically issued in perpetuity by the state or local government and typically are transferable or renewable for a minimal, or no, fee.  Traditional bulletin and poster advertising copy is either printed with computer generated

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graphics on a single sheet of vinyl or placed on lithographed or silk-screened paper sheets supplied by the advertiser.  These advertisements are then transported to the site and in the case of vinyl, wrapped around the face of the site, and in the case of paper, pasted and applied like wallpaper to the site.  The operational process also includes conducting visual inspections of the inventory for display defects and taking the necessary corrective action within a reasonable period of time.

Client Categories

In 2015, the top five client categories in our Americas segment were retail, business services, media, healthcare and medical, and banking and financial services.

 

Competition

The outdoor advertising industry in the Americas is fragmented, consisting of several large companies involved in outdoor advertising, such as OUTFRONT Media Inc. and Lamar Advertising Company, as well as  numerous smaller and local companies operating a limited number of displays in a single market or a few local markets.  We also compete with other advertising media in our respective markets, including broadcast and cable television, radio, print media, direct mail, online and other forms of advertisement.  Outdoor advertising companies compete primarily based on ability to reach consumers, which is driven by location of the display.

 

International Outdoor Advertising

Our International outdoor business segment includes our operations in Europe, Asia and Australia, with approximately 34%, 35% and 35% of our revenue in this segment derived from France and the United Kingdom for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  As of December 31, 2015, we owned or operated more than 540,000 displays across 22 countries.

 

Our International outdoor assets consist of street furniture and transit displays, billboards, mall displays, SmartBike programs, wallscapes and other spectaculars, which we own or operate under lease agreements. Our International business is focused on densely-populated metropolitan areas.

 

Strategy

Similar to our Americas outdoor advertising business, we believe our International outdoor advertising business has attractive industry fundamentals, including the ability to reach a broad audience and drive foot traffic to the point-of-sale, making outdoor a cost-effective medium for advertisers as measured by cost per thousand persons reached compared to other traditional media.  Our International business focuses on the following strategies:

 

Promote Overall Outdoor Media Spending.  Our strategy is to promote growth in outdoor advertising’s share of total media spending by demonstrating the strength of our medium.  As part of this effort, we are focusing on developing and implementing improved outdoor audience delivery measurement systems to provide advertisers with tools to plan their campaigns and determine how effectively their message is reaching the desired audience.

 

Differentiate on Sales and Marketing. Over the past five years, we have spent time and resources building commercial capabilities through a company wide sales force effectiveness program and an upgrade in our sales and marketing talent. These capabilities allow us to build and nurture relationships with our clients and their agencies as well as to offer packages and products that meet our clients’ advertising needs. Going forward, particular areas of focus include pricing, packaging and programmatic selling.

Capitalize on Product and Geographic Opportunities.  We are also focused on growing our relevance to our advertising customers by continuously optimizing our display portfolio and targeting investments in promising market segments. We have continued to innovate and introduce new products in our markets based on local demand. Our street furniture business generates the largest portion of our revenue and that is where we plan to focus much of our investment. We plan to continue to evaluate municipal contracts that may come up for bid and will make prudent investments where we believe we can generate attractive returns.

 

Continue to Deploy Digital Display Networks.  Our digital outdoor displays are a dynamic medium, which enables our customers to engage in real-time, tactical, topical and flexible advertising. We will continue our focused and dedicated digital strategy and remain committed to the development of digital out-of-home communication solutions. Through our digital brand, Clear Channel Play, we are able to offer networks of digital displays in multiple formats and multiple environments including bus shelters, billboards, airports, transit, malls and flagship locations. Part of our long-term strategy is to pursue the diversification of our product offering by introducing novel technologies, such as beacons, small cells, wayfinding stations and provision of wifi in our street furniture network, as additions to traditional methods of displaying our clients’ advertisements. We are currently installing these technologies in our various markets. We seek to achieve greater consumer engagement and flexibility by delivering powerful, flexible and interactive

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campaigns that open up new possibilities for advertisers to engage with their target audiences.  We had more than 6,600 digital displays in 19 countries across Europe, Asia and Australia as of December 31, 2015.

 

Sources of Revenue

Our International outdoor segment generated 23%, 26% and 25% of our revenue in 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.  Our International outdoor display inventory consists primarily of street furniture displays, billboards, transit displays and other out-of-home advertising displays. The following table shows the approximate percentage of revenue derived from each inventory category of our International outdoor segment:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

 

 

Street furniture displays

52%

 

50%

 

49%

 

 

Billboards

19%

 

20%

 

21%

 

 

Transit displays

9%

 

10%

 

10%

 

 

Other (1)

20%

 

20%

 

20%

 

 

Total

100%

 

100%

 

100%

 

 

(1)     Includes advertising revenue from mall displays, other small displays, and non-advertising revenue from sales of street furniture equipment, cleaning and maintenance services, operation of SmartBike programs and production revenue.

 

Our International outdoor segment generates the majority of its revenue from the sale of advertising space on street furniture displays, billboards, retail displays and transit displays. Similar to our Americas outdoor business, advertising rates generally are based on the gross ratings points of a display or group of displays. In some of the countries where we have operations, the number of impressions delivered by a display is weighted to account for such factors as illumination, proximity to other displays and the speed and viewing angle of approaching traffic.

 

While location, price and availability of displays are important competitive factors, we believe that providing quality customer service and establishing strong client relationships are also critical components of sales.  Our entrepreneurial culture allows local management to operate their markets as separate profit centers, encouraging customer cultivation and service.

 

Street Furniture Displays

Our International street furniture displays, available in traditional and digital formats, are substantially similar to their Americas street furniture counterparts, and include bus shelters, freestanding units, various types of kiosks, benches and other public structures.  Internationally, contracts with municipal and transit authorities for the right to place our street furniture in the public domain and sell advertising on such street furniture typically provide for terms ranging from two to 15 years. The major difference between our International and Americas street furniture businesses is in the nature of the municipal contracts.  In our International outdoor business, these contracts typically require us to provide the municipality with a broader range of metropolitan amenities such as bus shelters with or without advertising panels, information kiosks and public wastebaskets, as well as space for the municipality to display maps or other public information.  In exchange for providing such metropolitan amenities and display space, we are authorized to sell advertising space on certain sections of the structures we erect in the public domain.  Our International street furniture is typically sold to clients as network packages of multiple street furniture displays, with contract terms ranging from one to two weeks.  Client contracts are also available for longer terms.

 

Billboards

The sizes of our International billboards are not standardized.  The billboards vary in both format and size across our networks, with the majority of our International billboards being similar in size to our posters used in our Americas outdoor business. 

 

Our billboard inventory is primarily comprised of premium billboards and classic billboards and is available in traditional and digital formats.

·         Premium. Digital premium billboards typically display static messages that resemble standard printed billboards when viewed, but also allow advertisers to change messages throughout the course of a day, and may display advertisements for multiple customers. Our electronic displays are linked through centralized computer systems to instantaneously and simultaneously change advertising copy as needed. Because of their greater size, impact, high frequency and 24-hour

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advertising changes, digital premium billboards typically deliver our highest rates. Almost all of the advertising copy displayed on traditional premium billboards is digitally-printed and transported to the billboard where it is secured to the display surface. Premium billboards generally are located along major expressways, primary commuting routes and main intersections that are highly visible and heavily trafficked. Our clients may contract for individual billboards or a network of billboards.

 

·         Classic. Digital and traditional classic billboards are available in a variety of formats across our markets. Similar to digital premium billboards, classic digital billboards typically display static messages that resemble standard printed posters when viewed, and are linked through centralized computer systems to instantaneously and simultaneously change messages throughout the course of a day. Advertising copy for traditional classic billboards is digitally printed then transported and secured to the poster surfaces. Classic billboards generally are located in commercial areas on primary and secondary routes near point-of-purchase locations, facilitating advertising campaigns with greater demographic targeting than those displayed on premium billboards. Classic billboards typically deliver lower rates than our premium billboards. Our intent is to combine the creative impact of premium billboards with the additional reach and frequency of classic billboards.

 

Our billboards are primarily sold to clients as network packages with contract terms typically ranging from one to two weeks. Long-term client contracts are also available and typically have terms of up to one year. We lease the majority of our billboard sites from private landowners, usually for one to ten years.

 

Retail Displays

Our retail displays are mainly standalone advertising structures in or in close proximity to retail outlets such as malls and supermarkets. The right to place our displays in these locations and to sell advertising space on them generally is awarded by retail outlet operators such as large retailers or mall operators either through private tenders or bilateral negotiations. Upfront investment and ongoing maintenance costs vary across contracts. Contracts with mall operators and retailers have terms ranging from three to ten years. Our client contracts for retail displays, either traditional or digital, generally have terms ranging from one week to two weeks.

Transit Displays

Our International transit display contracts are substantially similar to their Americas transit display counterparts.  They are advertising surfaces on various types of vehicles or within transit systems, including on the interior and exterior sides of buses, trains, trams and within the common areas of rail stations and airports, and are available in both traditional and digital formats. Similar to street furniture, contracts for the right to place our displays on such vehicles or within such transit systems and to sell advertising space on them generally are awarded by public transit authorities in competitive bidding processes or are negotiated with private transit operators. Our transit display contracts often require us to make only a minimal initial investment and few ongoing maintenance expenditures. Contracts with public transit authorities or private transit operators typically have terms ranging from two to five years. Our client contracts for transit displays, either traditional or digital, generally have terms ranging from one week to one year, or longer.

 

Other International Displays and Services

The balance of our revenue from our International outdoor segment consists primarily of advertising revenue from mall displays, other small displays and non-advertising revenue from sales of street furniture equipment, cleaning and maintenance services and production and creative services revenue.  Our International inventory includes other small displays that are counted as separate displays since they form a substantial part of our network and International outdoor advertising revenue.  We also have a SmartBike bicycle rental program which provides bicycles for rent to the general public in several municipalities.  In exchange for operating these bike rental programs, we generally derive revenue from advertising rights to the bikes, bike stations, additional street furniture displays, and/or a share of rental income from the local municipalities.  In several of our International markets, we sell equipment or provide cleaning and maintenance services as part of street furniture contracts with municipalities.

 

Advertising Inventory and Markets

As of December 31, 2015, we owned or operated more than 540,000 displays in our International outdoor segment, with operations across 22 countries.  Our International outdoor display count includes display faces, which may include multiple faces on a single structure, as well as small, individual displays.  As a result, our International outdoor display count is not comparable to our Americas outdoor display count, which includes only unique displays.  No one property is material to our overall operations.  We believe that our properties are in good condition and suitable for our operations.

 

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Competition

The international outdoor advertising industry is competitive, consisting of several large companies involved in outdoor advertising, such as JCDecaux SA and ExterionMedia (UK) Limited, as well as  numerous smaller and local companies operating a limited number of displays in a single market or a few local markets.  We also compete with other advertising media in our respective markets, including broadcast and cable television, radio, print media, direct mail, online, mobile and other forms of advertisement.  Outdoor companies compete primarily based on ability to reach consumers, which is driven by location of the display.

 

Our business requires us to obtain and renew contracts with municipalities and other governmental entities, which frequently require us to participate in competitive bidding processes at each renewal. Many of these contracts typically have terms ranging from two to 15 years and have revenue share, capital expenditure requirements and/or fixed payment components. Competitive bidding processes are complex and sometimes lengthy.  Substantial costs may be incurred in connection with preparing bids for such processes. Our competitors, individually or through relationships with third parties, may be able to provide municipalities with different or greater capabilities or prices or benefits than we can provide. In the past we have not, and most likely in the future will not, be awarded all of the contracts on which we bid. There can be no assurance that we will win any particular bid, or that we will be able to replace any revenues lost upon expiration or completion of a contract. Our inability to renew existing contracts can also result in significant expenses from the removal of our displays. Furthermore, if and when we do obtain a contract, we are generally required to incur significant start-up expenses. The costs of bidding on contracts and the start-up costs associated with new contracts we may obtain may significantly reduce our cash flow and liquidity. The success of our business also depends generally on our ability to obtain and renew contracts with private landlords.

 

Other

Our Other category includes our media representation firm, Katz Media, as well as other general support services and initiatives that are ancillary to our other businesses.

 

Katz Media, a leading media representation firm in the U.S. for radio and television stations, sells national spot advertising time for clients in the radio and television industries throughout the United States.  As of December 31, 2015, Katz Media represented more than 3,000 radio stations.  Katz Media also represents more than 700 television and digital multicast stations.

 

Katz Media generates revenue primarily through contractual commissions realized from the sale of national spot and online advertising.  National spot advertising is commercial airtime sold to advertisers on behalf of radio and television stations.  Katz Media represents its media clients pursuant to media representation contracts, which typically have terms of up to ten years in length.

 

Employees

As of December 31, 2015, we had approximately 14,400 domestic employees and approximately 4,300 international employees, of which approximately 17,300 were in direct operations and 1,400 were in administrative or corporate related activities.  Approximately 800 of our employees are subject to collective bargaining agreements in their respective countries. We are a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements, none of which represent a significant number of employees.  We believe that our relationship with our union and non-union employees is good.

 

Seasonality

Required information is located within Item 7 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Regulation of our iHeartMedia Business

 

General

The following is a brief summary of certain statutes, regulations, policies and proposals affecting our iHeartMedia business.  For example, radio broadcasting is subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC under the Communications Act.  The Communications Act permits the operation of a radio broadcast station only under a license issued by the FCC upon a finding that grant of the license would serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.  Among other things, the Communications Act empowers the FCC to: issue, renew, revoke and modify broadcasting licenses; assign frequency bands for broadcasting; determine stations’ frequencies, locations, power and other technical parameters; impose penalties for violation of its regulations, including monetary forfeitures and, in extreme cases, license revocation; impose annual regulatory and application processing fees; and adopt and implement regulations and policies affecting the ownership, program content, employment practices and many other aspects of the operation of broadcast stations.

 

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This summary does not comprehensively cover all current and proposed statutes, regulations and policies affecting our iHeartMedia business.  Reference should be made to the Communications Act and other relevant statutes, regulations, policies and proceedings for further information concerning the nature and extent of regulation of our iHeartMedia business.  Finally, several of the following matters are now, or may become, the subject of court litigation, and we cannot predict the outcome of any such litigation or its impact on our iHeartMedia business.

 

License Assignments

The Communications Act prohibits the assignment of a license or the transfer of control of an FCC licensee without prior FCC approval.  Applications for license assignments or transfers involving a substantial change in ownership are subject to a 30-day period for public comment, during which petitions to deny the application may be filed and considered by the FCC.

 

License Renewal

The FCC grants broadcast licenses for a term of up to eight years.  The FCC will renew a license for an additional eight-year term if, after consideration of the renewal application and any objections thereto, it finds that the station has served the public interest, convenience and necessity and that, with respect to the station seeking renewal, there have been no serious violations of either the Communications Act or the FCC’s rules and regulations by the licensee and no other such violations which, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse.  The FCC may grant the license renewal application with or without conditions, including renewal for a term less than eight years.  The vast majority of radio licenses are renewed by the FCC for the full eight-year term.  While we cannot guarantee the grant of any future renewal application, our stations’ licenses historically have been renewed for the full eight-year term.

 

Ownership Regulation

FCC rules and policies define the interests of individuals and entities, known as “attributable” interests, which implicate FCC rules governing ownership of broadcast stations and other specified mass media entities.  Under these rules, attributable interests generally include: (1) officers and directors of a licensee or of its direct or indirect parent; (2) general partners; (3) limited partners and limited liability company members, unless properly “insulated” from management activities; (4) a 5% or more direct or indirect voting stock interest in a corporate licensee or parent, except that, for a narrowly defined class of passive investors, the attribution threshold is a 20% or more voting stock interest; and (5) combined equity and debt interests in excess of 33% of a licensee’s total asset value, if the interest holder provides over 15% of the licensee station’s total weekly programming, or has an attributable broadcast or newspaper interest in the same market (the “EDP Rule”).  An entity that owns one or more radio stations in a market and programs more than 15% of the broadcast time, or sells more than 15% per week of the advertising time, on a radio station in the same market is generally deemed to have an attributable interest in that station.

 

Debt instruments, non-voting corporate stock, minority voting stock interests in corporations having a single majority stockholder, and properly insulated limited partnership and limited liability company interests generally are not subject to attribution unless such interests implicate the EDP Rule.  To the best of our knowledge at present, none of our officers, directors or 5% or greater shareholders holds an interest in another television station, radio station or daily newspaper that is inconsistent with the FCC’s ownership rules.

 

The FCC is required to conduct periodic reviews of its media ownership rules.  In 2003, the FCC, among other actions, modified the radio ownership rules and adopted new cross-media ownership limits.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit initially stayed implementation of the new rules.  Later, it lifted the stay as to the radio ownership rules, allowing the modified rules to go into effect.  It retained the stay on the cross-media ownership limits and remanded them to the FCC for further justification (leaving in effect separate pre-existing FCC rules governing newspaper-broadcast and radio-television cross-ownership).  In 2007, the FCC adopted a decision that revised the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule but made no changes to the radio ownership or radio-television cross-ownership rules.  In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated the FCC’s revisions to the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule and otherwise upheld the FCC’s decision to retain the current radio ownership and radio-television cross-ownership rules.  The U.S. Supreme Court denied review of the Third Circuit’s decision.  The FCC began a periodic review of its media ownership rules in 2010 and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking, but did not complete the proceeding.  The FCC has commenced its 2014 periodic review and has incorporated the record of the 2010 review proceeding with a further notice of proposed rulemaking.  We cannot predict the outcome of the FCC’s media ownership proceedings or their effects on our business in the future.

 

Irrespective of the FCC’s radio ownership rules, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) have the authority to determine that a particular transaction presents antitrust concerns.  In particular, where the proposed purchaser already owns one or more radio stations in a particular market and seeks to acquire additional radio stations in that market, the DOJ has, in some cases, obtained consent decrees requiring radio station divestitures.

 

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The current FCC ownership rules relevant to our business are summarized below.

 

·         Local Radio Ownership Rule. The maximum allowable number of radio stations that may be commonly owned in a market is based on the size of the market.  In markets with 45 or more stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to eight stations, of which no more than five are in the same service (AM or FM).  In markets with 30-44 stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to seven stations, of which no more than four are in the same service.  In markets with 15-29 stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to six stations, of which no more than four are in the same service.  In markets with 14 or fewer stations, one entity may have an attributable interest in up to five stations, of which no more than three are in the same service, so long as the entity does not have an interest in more than 50% of all stations in the market.  To apply these ownership tiers, the FCC relies on Nielsen Metro Survey Areas, where they exist, and a signal contour-overlap methodology where they do not exist.  An FCC rulemaking is pending to determine how to define radio markets for stations located outside Nielsen Metro Survey Areas.

 

·         Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule. FCC rules generally prohibit an individual or entity from having an attributable interest in either a radio or television station and a daily newspaper located in the same market.

 

·         Radio-Television Cross-Ownership Rule.  FCC rules permit the common ownership of one television and up to seven same-market radio stations, or up to two television and six same-market radio stations, depending on the number of independent media voices in the market and on whether the television and radio components of the combination comply with the television and radio ownership limits, respectively.

 

Alien Ownership Restrictions

The Communications Act restricts foreign entities or individuals from owning or voting more than 20% of the equity of a broadcast licensee directly.  It also restricts foreign entities or individuals from owning or voting more than 25% of a licensee’s equity indirectly (i.e., through a parent company), unless the FCC has made a finding that greater indirect foreign ownership is in the public interest. Since we serve as a holding company for FCC licensee subsidiaries, we are effectively restricted from having more than one-fourth of our stock owned or voted directly or indirectly by foreign entities or individuals.  In November 2013, the FCC clarified that it would entertain and authorize, on a case-by-case basis and upon a sufficient public interest showing, proposals to exceed the 25% foreign ownership limit in broadcasting holding companies.  In October 2015, the FCC proposed rules to simplify and streamline the process for requesting authority to exceed the 25% indirect foreign ownership limit and solicited public comment on related matters, such as revising the methodology that broadcasters may use to assess their compliance with the 25% limit. 

 

Indecency Regulation

Federal law regulates the broadcast of obscene, indecent or profane material.  Legislation enacted by Congress provides the FCC with authority to impose fines of up to $325,000 per utterance with a cap of $3.0 million for any violation arising from a single act.  In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the appeals of several FCC indecency enforcement actions.  While setting aside the particular FCC actions under review on narrow due process grounds, the Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the FCC’s indecency policies, and the FCC has since solicited public comment on those policies.  We have received, and may receive in the future, letters of inquiry and other notifications from the FCC concerning complaints that programming aired on our stations contains indecent or profane language.  We cannot predict the outcome of our outstanding letters of inquiry and notifications from the FCC or the nature or extent of future FCC indecency enforcement actions.

 

Equal Employment Opportunity

The FCC’s rules require broadcasters to engage in broad equal employment opportunity recruitment efforts, retain data concerning such efforts and report much of this data to the FCC and to the public via periodic reports filed with the FCC or placed in stations’ public files and websites.  Broadcasters could be sanctioned for noncompliance.

 

Technical Rules

Numerous FCC rules govern the technical operating parameters of radio stations, including permissible operating frequency, power and antenna height and interference protections between stations.  Changes to these rules could negatively affect the operation of our stations.  For example, in January 2011 a law that eliminates certain minimum distance separation requirements between full-power and low-power FM radio stations was enacted.  In March 2011, the FCC adopted policies which, in certain circumstances, could make it more difficult for radio stations to relocate to increase their population coverage.  In October 2015, the FCC proposed rules, which could reduce the degree of interference protection afforded to certain of our AM radio stations that serve wide areas.

 

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Content, Licenses and Royalties

We must pay royalties to copyright owners of musical compositions (typically, songwriters and publishers) whenever we broadcast or stream musical compositions.  Copyright owners of musical compositions most often rely on intermediaries known as performing rights organizations (“PROs”) to negotiate licenses with copyright users for the public performance of their compositions, collect royalties under such licenses and distribute them to copyright owners. We have obtained public performance licenses from, and pay license fees to, the three major PROs in the United States, which are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (“ASCAP”), Broadcast Music, Inc. (“BMI”) and SESAC, Inc. (“SESAC”).  There is no guarantee that a given songwriter or publisher will remain associated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC or that additional PROs will not emerge.  In 2013, a new PRO was formed named Global Music Rights (“GMR”).  Irving Azoff, one of our directors, is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Azoff MSG Entertainment LLC, which owns 85% of GMR.  GMR has secured the rights to certain high-value copyrights. Further, certain music publishers have attempted to withdraw their rights from ASCAP and BMI.  The withdrawal of a significant number of musical composition copyright owners from the three established PROs, and/or the emergence of one or more additional PROs, could increase our royalty rates and negotiation costs.

 

To secure the rights to stream music content over the Internet, we also must obtain performance rights licenses and pay public performance royalties to copyright owners of sound recordings (typically, performing artists and record companies).  Under Federal statutory licenses, we are permitted to stream any lawfully released sound recordings and to make ephemeral reproductions of these recordings on our computer servers without having to separately negotiate and obtain direct licenses with each individual copyright owner as long as we operate in compliance with the rules of those statutory licenses and pay the applicable royalty rates to SoundExchange, the organization designated by the Copyright Royalty Board (“CRB”) to collect and distribute royalties under these statutory licenses.  Sound recordings fixed on or after February 15, 1972 are protected by federal copyright law.  Sound recording copyright owners have asserted that state law provides copyright protection for the recordings fixed before that date (“pre-72 recordings”).  Sound recording copyright owners have sued radio broadcasters and digital audio transmission services (including us) for unauthorized public performances and reproductions of pre-72 recordings under various state laws, and courts in two states have issued decisions favorable to the copyright owners.  If one or more of these decisions is upheld on appeal and held to apply to radio broadcasting or Internet simulcasting, it could impede our ability to broadcast or stream pre-72 recordings and/or increase our licensing and negotiating costs of doing so.

 

The rates at which we pay royalties to copyright owners are privately negotiated or set pursuant to a regulatory process.  In addition, we have business arrangements directly with some copyright owners to receive deliveries of and, in some cases, to directly license their sound recordings for use in our Internet operations.  There is no guarantee that the licenses and associated royalty rates that currently are available to us will be available to us in the future.  Congress may consider and adopt legislation that would require us to pay royalties to sound recording copyright owners for broadcasting those recordings on our terrestrial radio stations. In addition, the CRB recently issued an initial determination establishing copyright royalty rates for the public performance and ephemeral reproduction of sound recordings by various noninteractive webcasters, including radio broadcasters that simulcast their terrestrial programming online, to apply to the period January 1, 2016-December 31, 2020 under the so-called webcasting statutory license.  The rates set by the CRB represent a decrease from the 2015 CRB rates applicable to broadcasters and other webcasters, but the determination has not been finalized and is subject to appeal.  Increased royalty rates could significantly increase our expenses, which could adversely affect our business.  Moreover, some record companies recently have threatened to seek to enforce certain eligibility conditions applicable to the webcasting statutory license that in the past they had agreed to waive.  Some of these conditions may be inconsistent with customary radio broadcasting practices.

 

Privacy and Data Protection

We collect certain types of information from users of our technology platforms, including, without limitation, our websites, web pages, interactive features, applications, Twitter and Facebook pages, and mobile application (“Platforms”), in accordance with the privacy policies and terms of use posted on the applicable Platform.  We collect personally identifiable information directly from Platform users in several ways, including when a user purchases our products or services, registers to use our services, fills out a listener profile, posts comments, uses our social networking features, participates in polls and contests and signs up to receive email newsletters.  We also may obtain information about our listeners from other listeners and third parties.  We use the information we collect about and from Platform users for a variety of business purposes.

 

As a company conducting business on the Internet, we are subject to a number of laws and regulations relating to consumer protection, information security, data protection and privacy, among other things.  Many of these laws and regulations are still evolving and could be interpreted in ways that could harm our business.  In the area of information security and data protection, the laws in several states require companies to implement specific information security controls to protect certain types of personally identifiable information.  Likewise, all but a few states have laws in place requiring companies to notify users if there is a security

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breach that compromises certain categories of their personally identifiable information.  Any failure on our part to comply with these laws may subject us to significant liabilities.

 

We have implemented commercially reasonable physical and electronic security measures to protect our proprietary business information and to protect against the loss, misuse, and alteration of our listeners’ personally identifiable information.  However, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and we may be unable to anticipate or prevent unauthorized access to such information.  Any failure or perceived failure by us to protect our information or information about our listeners or to comply with our policies or applicable regulatory requirements could result in damage to our business and loss of confidence in us, damage to our brands, the loss of listeners, consumers, business partners and advertisers, as well as proceedings against us by governmental authorities or others, which could harm our business.

 

Other

Congress, the FCC and other government agencies and regulatory bodies may in the future adopt new laws, regulations and policies that could affect, directly or indirectly, the operation, profitability and ownership of our broadcast stations and Internet-based audio music services.  In addition to the regulations and other arrangements noted above, such matters may include, for example:  proposals to impose spectrum use or other fees on FCC licensees; changes to the political broadcasting rules, including the adoption of proposals to provide free air time to candidates; restrictions on the advertising of certain products, such as beer and wine; frequency allocation, spectrum reallocations and changes in technical rules; and the adoption of significant new programming and operational requirements designed to increase local community-responsive programming and enhance public interest reporting requirements.

 

Regulation of our Americas and International Outdoor Advertising Businesses 

The outdoor advertising industry in the United States is subject to governmental regulation at the federal, state and local levels. These regulations may include, among others, restrictions on the construction, repair, maintenance, lighting, upgrading, height, size, spacing and location and permitting of and, in some instances, content of advertising copy being displayed on outdoor advertising structures.  In addition, international regulations have a significant impact on the outdoor advertising industry.  International regulation of the outdoor advertising industry can vary by municipality, region and country, but generally limits the size, placement, nature and density of out-of-home displays. Other regulations may limit the subject matter and language of out-of-home displays.

 

From time to time, legislation has been introduced in both the United States and foreign jurisdictions attempting to impose taxes on revenue from outdoor advertising or for the right to use outdoor advertising assets. Several jurisdictions have imposed such taxes as a percentage of our outdoor advertising revenue generated in that jurisdiction.  In addition, some jurisdictions have taxed our personal property and leasehold interests in advertising locations using various valuation methodologies.  We expect U.S. and foreign jurisdictions to continue to try to impose such taxes as a way of increasing revenue.  In recent years, outdoor advertising also has become the subject of targeted taxes and fees.  These laws may affect prevailing competitive conditions in our markets in a variety of ways.  Such laws may reduce our expansion opportunities or may increase or reduce competitive pressure from other members of the outdoor advertising industry.  No assurance can be given that existing or future laws or regulations, and the enforcement thereof, will not materially and adversely affect the outdoor advertising industry.  However, we contest laws and regulations that we believe unlawfully restrict our constitutional or other legal rights and may adversely impact the growth of our outdoor advertising business.

 

In the United States, federal law, principally the Highway Beautification Act (“HBA”), regulates outdoor advertising on Federal-Aid Primary, Interstate and National Highway Systems roads within the United States (“controlled roads”). The HBA regulates the size and placement of billboards, requires the development of state standards, mandates a state’s compliance program, promotes the expeditious removal of illegal signs and requires just compensation for takings.

 

To satisfy the HBA’s requirements, all states have passed billboard control statutes and regulations that regulate, among other things, construction, repair, maintenance, lighting, height, size, spacing and the placement and permitting of outdoor advertising structures.  We are not aware of any state that has passed control statutes and regulations less restrictive than the prevailing federal requirements on the federal highway system, including the requirement that an owner remove any non-grandfathered, non-compliant signs along the controlled roads, at the owner’s expense and without compensation.  Local governments generally also include billboard control as part of their zoning laws and building codes regulating those items described above and include similar provisions regarding the removal of non-grandfathered structures that do not comply with certain of the local requirements.  Some local governments have initiated code enforcement and permit reviews of billboards within their jurisdiction. In some instances we have had to remove billboards as a result of such reviews.

 

As part of their billboard control laws, state and local governments regulate the construction of new signs.  Some jurisdictions prohibit new construction, some jurisdictions allow new construction only to replace or relocate existing structures and some jurisdictions allow new construction subject to the various restrictions discussed above.  In certain jurisdictions, restrictive

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regulations also limit our ability to relocate, rebuild, repair, maintain, upgrade, modify or replace existing legal non-conforming billboards.

 

U.S. federal law neither requires nor prohibits the removal of existing lawful billboards, but it does mandate the payment of compensation if a state or political subdivision compels the removal of a lawful billboard along the controlled roads.  In the past, state governments have purchased and removed existing lawful billboards for beautification purposes using federal funding for transportation enhancement programs, and these jurisdictions may continue to do so in the future. From time to time, state and local government authorities use the power of eminent domain and amortization to remove billboards.  Amortization is the required removal of legal non-conforming billboards (billboards which conformed with applicable laws and regulations when built, but which do not conform to current laws and regulations) or the commercial advertising placed on such billboards after a period of years. Pursuant to this concept, the governmental body asserts that just compensation is earned by continued operation of the billboard over that period of time. Although amortization is prohibited along all controlled roads, amortization has been upheld along non-controlled roads in limited instances where permitted by state and local law. Thus far, we have been able to obtain satisfactory compensation for, or relocation of, our billboards purchased or removed as a result of these types of governmental action, although there is no assurance that this will continue to be the case in the future.

 

We have introduced and intend to expand the deployment of digital billboards that display static digital advertising copy from various advertisers that change up to several times per minute. We have encountered some existing regulations in the U.S. and across some international jurisdictions that restrict or prohibit these types of digital displays.  However, since digital technology for changing static copy has only recently been developed and introduced into the market on a large scale, and is in the process of being introduced more broadly in our international markets, existing regulations that currently do not apply to digital technology by their terms could be revised to impose greater restrictions. These regulations, or actions by third parties, may impose greater restrictions on digital billboards due to alleged concerns over aesthetics or driver safety.

 

Available Information

You can find more information about us at our Internet website located at www.iheartmedia.com. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports are available free of charge through our Internet website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish such material to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The contents of our website are not deemed to be part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any of our other filings with the SEC.

 

The SEC maintains an internet website that contains these reports at www.sec.gov. Any materials we file with the SEC may also be read or copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. Information concerning the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at (800) 732-0330.

 

ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS

Risks Related to Our Business

To service our debt obligations and to fund our operations and our capital expenditures, we require a significant amount of cash to meet our needs, which depends on many factors beyond our control

Our ability to service our debt obligations and to fund our operations and our capital expenditures requires a significant amount of cash.  Our primary sources of liquidity are cash on hand, cash flow from operations and borrowing capacity under our receivables based credit facility, subject to certain limitations contained in our material financing agreements, to help meet our liquidity needs.  As of December 31, 2015, we had $772.7 million of cash on our balance sheet.  As of December 31, 2015, we had a borrowing base of $459.7 million under our receivables based credit facility, had $230.0 million of outstanding borrowings and $43.9 million of outstanding letters of credit, resulting in $185.8 million of excess availability.  However, any incremental borrowings under our receivables based credit facility may be further limited by the terms contained in our material financing agreements.  Based on our current and anticipated levels of operations and conditions in our markets, we believe that cash on hand, cash flow from operations and borrowing capacity under our receivables based credit facility will enable us to meet our working capital, capital expenditure, debt service and other funding requirements for at least the next twelve months. However, our ability to fund our working capital, capital expenditures, debt service and other obligations, and to comply with the financial covenant under our financing agreements, depends on our future operating performance and cash from operations, which are in turn subject to prevailing economic conditions and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. In 2015, we drew a net aggregate of $230.0 million under our receivables based credit facility to fund working capital needs, capital expenditures and interest payment obligations, and, since the beginning of 2015, we completed several transactions as described under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Anticipated Cash Requirements.” These transactions improved our liquidity position in the short term, but our annual lease payment and annual cash interest payment obligations increased as a result. If our future

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operating performance does not meet our expectation or our plans materially change in an adverse manner or prove to be materially inaccurate, we may need additional financing.  In addition, the purchase price of possible acquisitions, capital expenditures for deployment of digital billboards and/or other strategic initiatives could require additional indebtedness or equity financing on our part.  Adverse securities and credit market conditions could significantly affect the availability of debt or equity financing. In connection with our  financing transactions completed during 2015, the average interest rate on our outstanding debt has increased.  We anticipate paying cash interest of approximately $1.8 billion during 2016.  Future financing transactions may further increase interest expense, which could in turn reduce our financial flexibility and our ability to fund other activities and make us more vulnerable to changes in operating performance or economic downturns generally.  There can be no assurance that additional financing, if permitted under the terms of our  financing agreements, will be available on terms acceptable to us or at all. The inability to generate sufficient cash or obtain additional financing could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and on our ability to meet our  obligations or pursue strategic initiatives.

 

Our results have been in the past, and could be in the future, adversely affected by economic uncertainty or deteriorations in economic conditions

We derive revenues from the sale of advertising.  Expenditures by advertisers tend to be cyclical, reflecting economic conditions and budgeting and buying patterns.  Periods of a slowing economy or recession, or periods of economic uncertainty, may be accompanied by a decrease in advertising. For example, the global economic downturn that began in 2008 resulted in a decline in advertising and marketing by our customers, which resulted in a decline in advertising revenues across our businesses. This reduction in advertising revenues had an adverse effect on our revenue, profit margins, cash flow and liquidity. Global economic conditions have been slow to recover and remain uncertain.  If economic conditions do not continue to improve, economic uncertainty increases or economic conditions deteriorate again, global economic conditions may once again adversely impact our revenue, profit margins, cash flow and liquidity.  Furthermore, because a significant portion of our revenue is derived from local advertisers, our ability to generate revenues in specific markets is directly affected by local and regional conditions, and unfavorable regional economic conditions also may adversely impact our results.  In addition, even in the absence of a downturn in general economic conditions, an individual business sector or market may experience a downturn, causing it to reduce its advertising expenditures, which also may adversely impact our results.

 

We face intense competition in our iHeartMedia and our outdoor advertising businesses

We operate in a highly competitive industry, and we may not be able to maintain or increase our current audience ratings and advertising revenues. Our iHeartMedia and our outdoor advertising businesses compete for audiences and advertising revenues with other radio and outdoor advertising businesses, as well as with other media, such as newspapers, magazines, television, direct mail, portable digital audio players, mobile devices, satellite radio, Internet-based services and live entertainment, within their respective markets. Audience ratings and market shares are subject to change for various reasons, including through consolidation of our competitors through processes such as mergers and acquisitions, which could have the effect of reducing our revenues in a specific market. Our competitors may develop technology, services or advertising media that are equal or superior to those we provide or that achieve greater market acceptance and brand recognition than we achieve. It also is possible that new competitors may emerge and rapidly acquire significant market share in any of our business segments.  An increased level of competition for advertising dollars may lead to lower advertising rates as we attempt to retain customers or may cause us to lose customers to our competitors who offer lower rates that we are unable or unwilling to match.

 

Alternative media platforms and technologies may continue to increase competition with our broadcasting operations

Our terrestrial radio broadcasting operations face increasing competition from alternative media platforms and technologies, such as broadband wireless, satellite radio, audio broadcasting by cable television systems and Internet-based audio music services, as well as consumer products, such as portable digital audio players and other mobile devices, smart phones and tablets, gaming consoles, in-home entertainment and enhanced automotive platforms. These technologies and alternative media platforms, including those used by us, compete with our radio stations for audience share and advertising revenues.  We are unable to predict the effect that such technologies and related services and products will have on our broadcasting operations.  The capital expenditures necessary to implement these or other technologies could be substantial and we cannot assure you that we will continue to have the resources to acquire new technologies or to introduce new services to compete with other new technologies or services, or that our investments in new technologies or services will provide the desired returns.  Other companies employing new technologies or services could more successfully implement such new technologies or services or otherwise increase competition with our businesses.

 

Our iHeartMedia business is dependent upon the performance of on-air talent and program hosts

We employ or independently contract with many on-air personalities and hosts of syndicated radio programs with significant loyal audiences in their respective markets.  Although we have entered into long-term agreements with some of our key on-air talent and program hosts to protect our interests in those relationships, we can give no assurance that all or any of these persons will remain

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with us or will retain their audiences.  Competition for these individuals is intense and many of these individuals are under no legal obligation to remain with us.  Our competitors may choose to extend offers to any of these individuals on terms which we may be unwilling to meet. Furthermore, the popularity and audience loyalty of our key on-air talent and program hosts is highly sensitive to rapidly changing public tastes.  A loss of such popularity or audience loyalty is beyond our control and could have a material adverse effect on our ability to attract local and/or national advertisers and on our revenue and/or ratings, and could result in increased expenses.

 

Our business is dependent on our management team and other key individuals

Our business is dependent upon the performance of our management team and other key individuals.  Although we have entered into agreements with some members of our management team and certain other key individuals, we can give no assurance that all or any of our management team and other key individuals will remain with us, or that we won’t continue to make changes to the composition of, and the roles and responsibilities of, our management team.  Competition for these individuals is intense and many of our key employees are at-will employees who are under no legal obligation to remain with us, and may decide to leave for a variety of personal or other reasons beyond our control.  If members of our management or key individuals decide to leave us in the future, if we decide to make further changes to the composition of, or the roles and responsibilities of, these individuals, or if we are not successful in attracting, motivating and retaining other key employees, our business could be adversely affected.

 

Our financial performance may be adversely affected by many factors beyond our control

Certain factors that could adversely affect our financial performance by, among other things, decreasing overall revenues, the numbers of advertising customers, advertising fees or profit margins include:

 

·         unfavorable fluctuations in operating costs, which we may be unwilling or unable to pass through to our customers;

·         our inability to successfully adopt or are late in adopting technological changes and innovations that offer more attractive advertising or listening alternatives than what we offer, which could result in a loss of advertising customers or lower advertising rates, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and financial performance;

·         the impact of potential new royalties charged for terrestrial radio broadcasting, which could materially increase our expenses;

·         unfavorable shifts in population and other demographics, which may cause us to lose advertising customers as people migrate to markets where we have a smaller presence or which may cause advertisers to be willing to pay less in advertising fees if the general population shifts into a less desirable age or geographical demographic from an advertising perspective;

·         adverse political effects and acts or threats of terrorism or military conflicts;

·         unfavorable changes in labor conditions, which may impair our ability to operate or require us to spend more to retain and attract key employees; and

 

The success of our street furniture and transit products businesses is dependent on our obtaining key municipal concessions, which we may not be able to obtain on favorable terms

Our street furniture and transit products businesses require us to obtain and renew contracts with municipalities and transit authorities. Many of these contracts, which require us to participate in competitive bidding processes at each renewal, typically have terms ranging from 2 to 15 years and have revenue share, capital expenditure requirements and/or fixed payment components. Competitive bidding processes are complex and sometimes lengthy and substantial costs may be incurred in connection with preparing bids.

 

Our competitors, individually or through relationships with third parties, may be able to provide different or greater capabilities or prices or benefits than we can provide. In the past we have not been, and most likely in the future will not be, awarded all of the contracts on which we bid. The success of our business also depends generally on our ability to obtain and renew contracts with private landlords. There can be no assurance that we will win any particular bid, be able to renew existing contracts or be able to replace any revenue lost upon expiration or completion of a contract. Our inability to renew existing contracts may also result in significant expenses from the removal of our displays. Furthermore, if and when we do obtain a contract, we are generally required to incur significant start-up expenses. The costs of bidding on contracts and the start-up costs associated with new contracts we may obtain may significantly reduce our cash flow and liquidity.

 

This competitive bidding process presents a number of risks, including the following:

 

·         we expend substantial cost and managerial time and effort to prepare bids and proposals for contracts that we may not win;

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·         we may be unable to estimate accurately the revenue derived from and the resources and cost structure that will be required to service any contract we win; and

·            we may encounter expenses and delays if our competitors challenge awards of contracts to us in competitive bidding, and any such challenge could result in the resubmission of bids on modified specifications, or in the termination, reduction or modification of the awarded contract.

 

Our inability to successfully negotiate, renew or complete these contracts due to third-party or governmental demands and delay and the highly competitive bidding processes for these contracts could affect our ability to offer these products to our clients, or to offer them to our clients at rates that are competitive to other forms of advertising, without adversely affecting our financial results.

 

Future acquisitions, dispositions and other strategic transactions could pose risks

We frequently evaluate strategic opportunities both within and outside our existing lines of business. We expect from time to time to pursue strategic acquisitions and dispositions of certain businesses. These acquisitions or dispositions could be material. Our strategy involves numerous risks, including:

 

·         our acquisitions may prove unprofitable and fail to generate anticipated cash flows;

·         our dispositions may negatively impact revenues from our national, regional and other sales networks;

·         our dispositions may make it difficult to generate cash flows from operations sufficient to meet our anticipated cash requirements;

·         to successfully manage our large portfolio of iHeartMedia, outdoor advertising and other businesses, we may need to:

·         recruit additional senior management as we cannot be assured that senior management of acquired businesses will continue to work for us and we cannot be certain that our recruiting efforts will succeed, and

·         expand corporate infrastructure to facilitate the integration of our operations with those of acquired businesses, because failure to do so may cause us to lose the benefits of any expansion that we decide to undertake by leading to disruptions in our ongoing businesses or by distracting our management;

·         we may enter into markets and geographic areas where we have limited or no experience;

·         we may encounter difficulties in the integration of operations and systems; and

·         our management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns.

 

Acquisitions and dispositions of media and entertainment businesses and outdoor advertising businesses may require antitrust review by U.S. federal antitrust agencies and may require review by foreign antitrust agencies under the antitrust laws of foreign jurisdictions. We can give no assurances that the DOJ, the FTC or foreign antitrust agencies will not seek to bar us from acquiring or disposing of media and entertainment businesses or outdoor advertising businesses or impose stringent undertaking on our business as a condition to the completion of an acquisition in any market where we already have a significant position. Further, radio acquisitions are subject to FCC approval.  Such transactions must comply with the Communications Act and FCC regulatory requirements and policies, including with respect to the number of broadcast facilities in which a person or entity may have an ownership or attributable interest in a given local market and the level of interest that may be held by a foreign individual or entity.  The FCC's media ownership rules remain subject to ongoing agency and court proceedings.  Future changes could restrict our ability to acquire or dispose of new radio assets or businesses.

 

Extensive current government regulation, and future regulation, may limit our radio broadcasting and other iHeartMedia operations or adversely affect our business and financial results

Congress and several federal agencies, including the FCC, extensively regulate the domestic radio industry.  For example, the FCC could impact our profitability by imposing large fines on us if, in response to pending or future complaints, it finds that we broadcast indecent programming or committed other violations of FCC regulations.  We could face significant fines, for instance, as a result of pending FCC investigations into the allegedly inappropriate broadcast of emergency alert signals by several of our stations.  Additionally, we cannot be sure that the FCC will approve renewal of the licenses we must have in order to operate our stations.  Nor can we be assured that our licenses will be renewed without conditions and for a full term.  The non-renewal, or conditioned renewal, of a substantial number of our FCC licenses could have a materially adverse impact on our operations.  Furthermore, possible changes in interference protections, spectrum allocations and other technical rules may negatively affect the operation of our stations.  For example, in January 2011, a law that eliminates certain minimum distance separation requirements between full-power and low-power FM radio stations was enacted.  In March 2011, the FCC adopted policies which, in certain circumstances, could make it more difficult for radio stations to relocate to increase their population coverage.  In October 2015, the FCC proposed rules, which could reduce the degree of interference protection afforded to certain of our AM radio stations that serve wide areas.  In addition, Congress, the FCC and other regulatory agencies have considered, and may in the future consider and adopt, new laws, regulations and policies that could, directly or indirectly, have an adverse effect on our business operations and financial performance.  For example, Congress may consider and adopt legislation that would impose an obligation upon all U.S. broadcasters to pay performing artists a royalty for

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the on-air broadcast of their sound recordings (this would be in addition to payments already made by broadcasters to owners of musical work rights, such as songwriters, composers and publishers).  Moreover, it is possible that our license fees and negotiating costs associated with obtaining rights to use musical compositions and sound recordings in our programming content could sharply increase as a result of private negotiations, one or more regulatory rate-setting processes, or administrative and court decisions. The CRB recently issued an initial determination establishing copyright royalty rates for the public performance and ephemeral reproduction of sound recordings by various noninteractive webcasters, including radio broadcasters that simulcast their terrestrial programming online, to apply to the period from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020 under the webcasting statutory license.  The rates set by the CRB represent a decrease from the 2015 CRB rates applicable to broadcasters and other webcasters, but the determination has not been finalized and is subject to appeal.  Increased royalty rates could significantly increase our expenses, which could adversely affect our business.  Moreover, some record companies recently have threatened to seek to enforce certain eligibility conditions applicable to the webcasting statutory license that in the past they had agreed to waive.  Some of these conditions may be inconsistent with customary radio broadcasting practices. Finally, various regulatory matters relating to our iHeartMedia business are now, or may become, the subject of court litigation, and we cannot predict the outcome of any such litigation or its impact on our business.

 

Government regulation of outdoor advertising may restrict our outdoor advertising operations

U.S. federal, state and local regulations have a significant impact on the outdoor advertising industry and our business. One of the seminal laws is the HBA, which regulates outdoor advertising on controlled roads in the United States. The HBA regulates the size and location of billboards, mandates a state compliance program, requires the development of state standards, promotes the expeditious removal of illegal signs and requires just compensation for takings. Construction, repair, maintenance, lighting, upgrading, height, size, spacing, the location and permitting of billboards and the use of new technologies for changing displays, such as digital displays, are regulated by federal, state and local governments. From time to time, states and municipalities have prohibited or significantly limited the construction of new outdoor advertising structures. Changes in laws and regulations affecting outdoor advertising, or changes in the interpretation of those laws and regulations, at any level of government, including the foreign jurisdictions in which we operate, could have a significant financial impact on us by requiring us to make significant expenditures or otherwise limiting or restricting some of our operations. Due to such regulations, it has become increasingly difficult to develop new outdoor advertising locations.

 

From time to time, certain state and local governments and third parties have attempted to force the removal of our displays under various state and local laws, including zoning ordinances, permit enforcement and condemnation. Similar risks also arise in certain of our international jurisdictions.  Certain zoning ordinances provide for amortization, which is the required removal of legal non-conforming billboards (billboards which conformed with applicable laws and regulations when built, but which do not conform to current laws and regulations) or the commercial advertising placed on such billboards after a period of years. Pursuant to this concept, the governmental body asserts that just compensation is earned by continued operation of the billboard over that period of time. Although amortization is prohibited along all controlled roads, amortization has been upheld along non-controlled roads in limited instances where permitted by state and local law. Other regulations limit our ability to rebuild, replace, repair, maintain and upgrade non-conforming displays. In addition, from time to time third parties or local governments assert that we own or operate displays that either are not properly permitted or otherwise are not in strict compliance with applicable law. If we are increasingly unable to resolve such allegations or obtain acceptable arrangements in circumstances in which our displays are subject to removal, modification or amortization, or if there occurs an increase in such regulations or their enforcement, our operating results could suffer.

 

A number of state and local governments have implemented or initiated taxes, fees and registration requirements in an effort to decrease or restrict the number of outdoor signs and/or to raise revenue.  From time to time, legislation also has been introduced in international jurisdictions attempting to impose taxes on revenue from outdoor advertising or for the right to use outdoor advertising assets.  In addition, a number of jurisdictions have implemented legislation or interpreted existing legislation to restrict or prohibit the installation of digital billboards, and we expect these efforts to continue.  The increased imposition of these measures, and our inability to overcome any such measures, could reduce our operating income if those outcomes require removal or restrictions on the use of preexisting displays or limit growth of digital displays.  In addition, if we are unable to pass on the cost of these items to our clients, our operating income could be adversely affected.

 

International regulation of the outdoor advertising industry can vary by municipality, region and country, but generally limits the size, placement, nature and density of out-of-home displays.  Other regulations limit the subject matter, animation and language of out-of-home displays. Our failure to comply with these or any future international regulations could have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of our displays or their attractiveness to clients as an advertising medium and may require us to make significant expenditures to ensure compliance and avoid certain penalties or contractual breaches. As a result, we may experience a significant impact on our operations, revenue, international client base and overall financial condition.

 

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Regulations and consumer concerns regarding privacy and data protection, or any failure to comply with these regulations, could hinder our operations

We collect and utilize demographic and other information, including personally identifiable information, from and about our listeners, consumers, business partners and advertisers as they interact with us.  For example: (1) our broadcast radio station websites and our iHeartRadio digital platform collect personal information as users register for our services, fill out their listener profiles, post comments, use our social networking features, participate in polls and contests and sign-up to receive email newsletters; (2) we use tracking technologies, such as “cookies,” to manage and track our listeners’ interactions with us so that we can deliver relevant music content and advertising; and (3) we collect credit card or debit card information from consumers, business partners and advertisers who use our services.

 

We are subject to numerous federal, state and foreign laws and regulations relating to consumer protection, information security, data protection and privacy, among other things.  Many of these laws are still evolving, new laws may be enacted and any of these laws could be amended or interpreted in ways that could harm our business.  In addition, changes in consumer expectations and demands regarding privacy and data protection could restrict our ability to collect, use, disclose and derive economic value from demographic and other information related to our listeners, consumers, business partners and advertisers.  Such restrictions could limit our ability to provide customized music content to our listeners, interact directly with our listeners and consumers and offer targeted advertising opportunities to our business partners and advertisers.  Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to comply with these laws and regulations, any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with our policies or applicable regulatory requirements related to consumer protection, information security, data protection and privacy could result in a loss of confidence in us, damage to our brands, the loss of listeners, consumers, business partners and advertisers, as well as proceedings against us by governmental authorities or others, which could hinder our operations and adversely affect our business.

 

If our security measures are breached, we could lose valuable information, suffer disruptions to our business, and incur expenses and liabilities including damages to our relationships with listeners, consumers, business partners and advertisers

Although we have implemented physical and electronic security measures to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of our websites, digital assets and proprietary business information as well as listener, consumer, business partner and advertiser personally identifiable information, no security measures are perfect and impenetrable and we may be unable to anticipate or prevent unauthorized access.  A security breach could occur due to the actions of outside parties, employee error, malfeasance or a combination of these or other actions.  If an actual or perceived breach of our security occurs, we could lose competitively sensitive business information or suffer disruptions to our business operations, information processes or internal controls.  In addition, the public perception of the effectiveness of our security measures or services could be harmed, we could lose listeners, consumers, business partners and advertisers.  In the event of a security breach, we could suffer financial exposure in connection with penalties, remediation efforts, investigations and legal proceedings and changes in our security and system protection measures.  Currently, not all of our systems are fully compliant with PCI-DSS standards and, as a result, we may face additional liability in the event of a security breach involving payment card information. 

 

Restrictions on outdoor advertising of certain products may restrict the categories of clients that can advertise using our products

Out-of-court settlements between the major U.S. tobacco companies and all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories include a ban on the outdoor advertising of tobacco products.  Other products and services may be targeted in the U.S. in the future, including alcohol products.  Most European Union countries, among other nations, also have banned outdoor advertisements for tobacco products and regulate alcohol advertising.  Regulations vary across the countries in which we conduct business.  Any significant reduction in advertising of products due to content-related restrictions could cause a reduction in our direct revenues from such advertisements and an increase in the available space on the existing inventory of billboards in the outdoor advertising industry.

 

Environmental, health, safety and land use laws and regulations may limit or restrict some of our operations

As the owner or operator of various real properties and facilities, especially in our outdoor advertising operations, we must comply with various foreign, federal, state and local environmental, health, safety and land use laws and regulations. We and our properties are subject to such laws and regulations relating to the use, storage, disposal, emission and release of hazardous and non-hazardous substances and employee health and safety as well as zoning restrictions. Historically, we have not incurred significant expenditures to comply with these laws. However, additional laws which may be passed in the future, or a finding of a violation of or liability under existing laws, could require us to make significant expenditures and otherwise limit or restrict some of our operations.

 

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We are exposed to foreign currency exchange risks because a portion of our revenue is received in foreign currencies and translated to U.S. dollars for reporting purposes.

We generate a portion of our revenues in currencies other than U.S. dollars. Changes in economic or political conditions in any of the foreign countries in which we operate could result in exchange rate movement, new currency or exchange controls or other currency restrictions being imposed. Because we receive a portion of our revenues in currencies from the countries in which we operate, exchange rate fluctuations in any such currency could have an adverse effect on our profitability. A portion of our cash flows are generated in foreign currencies and translated to U.S. dollars for reporting purposes, and certain of the indebtedness held by our international subsidiaries is denominated in U.S. dollars, and, therefore, significant changes in the value of such foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and our ability to meet interest and principal payments on our indebtedness.

 

Given the volatility of exchange rates, we cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively manage our currency transaction and/or translation risks. It is possible that volatility in currency exchange rates will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations. We expect to experience economic losses and gains and negative and positive impacts on our operating income as a result of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.

 

Doing business in foreign countries exposes us to certain risks not expected to occur when doing business in the United States

Doing business in foreign countries carries with it certain risks that are not found when doing business in the United States. These risks could result in losses against which we are not insured.  Examples of these risks include:

 

·         potential adverse changes in the diplomatic relations of foreign countries with the United States;

·         hostility from local populations;

·         the adverse effect of foreign exchange controls;

·         government policies against businesses owned by foreigners;

·         investment restrictions or requirements;

·         expropriations of property without adequate compensation;

·         the potential instability of foreign governments;

·         the risk of insurrections;

·         risks of renegotiation or modification of existing agreements with governmental authorities;

·         difficulties collecting receivables and otherwise enforcing contracts with governmental agencies and others in some foreign legal systems;

·         withholding and other taxes on remittances and other payments by subsidiaries;

·         changes in tax structure and level; and

·         changes in laws or regulations or the interpretation or application of laws or regulations.

 

Our International operations involve contracts with, and regulation by, foreign governments.  We operate in many parts of the world that experience corruption to some degree.  Although we have policies and procedures in place that are designed to promote legal and regulatory compliance (including with respect to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom Bribery Act), our employees, subcontractors and agents could take actions that violate applicable anticorruption laws or regulations.  Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.

 

Significant equity investors control us and may have conflicts of interest with us in the future

Private equity funds sponsored by or co-investors with Bain Capital and THL indirectly own a majority of our outstanding capital stock and will exercise control over matters requiring approval of our shareholder and board of directors. The directors elected by Bain Capital and THL will have significant authority to make decisions affecting us, including change of control transactions and the incurrence of additional indebtedness.

 

In addition, affiliates of Bain Capital and THL are lenders under our term loan credit facilities and holders of our priority guarantee notes due 2019.  It is possible that their interests in some circumstances may conflict with our interests.

 

Additionally, Bain Capital and THL are in the business of making investments in companies and may acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. One or more of the entities advised by or affiliated with Bain Capital and/or THL may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. So long as entities advised by or affiliated with Bain Capital and THL directly or indirectly

22


 

own a significant amount of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock, even if such amount is less than 50%, Bain Capital and THL will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions.

 

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

The substantial amount of indebtedness of us and our subsidiaries, may adversely affect our cash flows and our ability to operate our business and make us more vulnerable to changes in the economy or our industry

We have a substantial amount of indebtedness. At December 31, 2015, we had $20.9 billion of total indebtedness outstanding, including: (1) $5.0 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding under our term loan D credit facility, which matures in January 2019 and $1.3 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding under our term loan E credit facility, which matures in July 2019; (2) $230.0 million aggregate principal amount outstanding under our receivables based credit facility, which matures in December 2017; (3) $2.0 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 9.0% priority guarantee notes due 2019, which mature in December 2019; (4) $1.7 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 9.0% priority guarantee notes due 2021, net of $29.9 million of unamortized discounts, which mature in March 2021; (5) $575.0 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 11.25% priority guarantee notes due 2021, which mature in March 2021; (6) $1.0 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 9.0% priority guarantee notes due 2022, net of $2.2 million of unamortized premiums, which mature in September 2022; (7) $950.0 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 10.625% priority guarantee notes due 2023, which mature in March 2023; (8) $25.2 million aggregate principal amount of other secured debt; (9) $1.7 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 14.0% senior notes due 2021, net of $14.0 million of unamortized discounts, (net of $431.9 million held by a subsidiary of ours), which mature in February 2021; (10) $512.8 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of our Legacy Notes, net of unamortized purchase accounting discounts of $155.1 million (net of $57.1 million held by a subsidiary of ours), which mature at various dates from December 2016 through October 2027; (11) $730.0 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of our 10.0% senior notes due 2018 (net of $120.0 million held by a subsidiary of ours), which mature in January 2018; (12) $2.7 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding of subsidiary senior notes, net of unamortized discounts of $5.6 million, which mature in November 2022; (13) $2.2 billion aggregate principal amount outstanding of subsidiary senior subordinated notes, which mature in March 2020; (14) $222.8 million aggregate principal amount outstanding of international subsidiary senior notes, net of unamortized discounts of $2.2 million, which mature in December 2020; and (15) other obligations of less than $1.0 million. This large amount of indebtedness could have negative consequences for us, including, without limitation:

 

·         requiring us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow to the payment of principal and interest on indebtedness, thereby reducing cash available for other purposes, including to fund operations and capital expenditures, invest in new technology and pursue other business opportunities;

·         limiting our liquidity and operational flexibility and limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes;

·         limiting our ability to adjust to changing economic, business and competitive conditions;

·         requiring us to defer planned capital expenditures, reduce discretionary spending, sell assets, restructure existing indebtedness or defer acquisitions or other strategic opportunities;

·         limiting our ability to refinance any of our indebtedness or increasing the cost of any such financing;

·         making us more vulnerable to an increase in interest rates, a downturn in our operating performance, a decline in general economic or industry conditions or a disruption in the credit markets; and

·         making us more susceptible to negative changes in credit ratings, which could impact our ability to obtain financing in the future and increase the cost of such financing.

 

If compliance with the debt obligations materially hinders our ability to operate our business and adapt to changing industry conditions, we may lose market share, our revenue may decline and our operating results may suffer. The terms of our credit facilities and the other indebtedness allow us, under certain conditions, to incur further indebtedness, including secured indebtedness, which heightens the foregoing risks.

 

We and our subsidiaries may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our indebtedness, may not be able to refinance all of our indebtedness before it becomes due and may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness, which may not be successful

Our and our subsidiaries’ ability to make scheduled payments on our respective debt obligations depends on our financial condition and operating performance, which is subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and to certain financial, business and other factors beyond their or our control.  In addition, because We derive a substantial portion of our operating income from our subsidiaries, our ability to repay our debt depends upon the performance of our subsidiaries, their ability to dividend or distribute funds to us and our receipt of funds under our cash management arrangement with our subsidiary, CCOH.

 

23


 

We and our subsidiaries may not generate cash flow from operations or have cash on hand in an amount sufficient to fund our liquidity needs.  We anticipate cash interest requirements of approximately $1.8 billion during 2016.  At December 31, 2015, we had debt maturities totaling $197.3 million (net of $57.1 million due to a subsidiary of ours), $238.4 million and $939.1 million (net of $120.0 million due to a subsidiary of ours) in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.  We are currently exploring, and expect to continue to explore, a variety of transactions to provide us with additional liquidity.  We cannot assure you that we will enter into or consummate any such liquidity-generating transactions, or that such transactions will provide sufficient cash to satisfy our liquidity needs, and we cannot currently predict the impact that any such transaction, if consummated, would have on us.

 

If our and our subsidiaries’ cash flows from operations, refinancing sources and other liquidity-generating transactions are insufficient to fund our respective debt service obligations or debt maturities as they become due, we may be forced to reduce or delay capital expenditures, sell material assets or operations, or seek additional capital from other sources.  We may not be able to take any of these actions, and these actions may not be successful or permit us or our subsidiaries to meet the scheduled debt service obligations.  Furthermore, these actions may not be permitted under the terms of existing or future debt agreements.

 

The ability to refinance the debt will depend on the condition of the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. Any refinancing of the debt could be at higher interest rates and increase debt service obligations and may require us and our subsidiaries to comply with more onerous covenants, which could further restrict our business operations. The terms of existing or future debt instruments may restrict us from adopting some of these alternatives. These alternative measures may not be successful and may not permit us or our subsidiaries to meet scheduled debt service obligations. If we or our subsidiaries cannot make scheduled payments on indebtedness, we or our subsidiaries, as applicable, will be in default under one or more of the debt agreements and, as a result we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.

 

Our substantial debt service obligations have increased as a result of our financing transactions and may continue to do so, which could adversely affect our liquidity and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations

In 2015, our debt service obligations increased.  Future financing transactions and any increase in interest rates may further increase our interest expense. The increase in our debt service obligations could adversely affect our liquidity and could have important consequences, including the following:

 

·         it may make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness and our contractual and commercial commitments; and

·         it may otherwise further limit us in the ways summarized above under “The substantial amount of indebtedness of us and our subsidiaries, may adversely affect our cash flows and our ability to operate our business and make us more vulnerable to changes in the economy or our industry,” including by reducing our cash available for operations, debt service obligations, future business opportunities, acquisitions and capital expenditures.

 

Our ability to make payments with respect to our debt obligations will depend on our future operating performance and our ability to continue to refinance our indebtedness, which will be affected by prevailing economic and credit market conditions and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control.

 

Because we derive a substantial portion of operating income from our subsidiaries, our ability to repay its debt depends upon the performance of our subsidiaries and their ability to dividend or distribute funds to us.

We derive all of our operating income from our subsidiaries. As a result, our cash flow and our ability to service its indebtedness depend on the performance of our subsidiaries and the ability of those entities to distribute funds to us. We cannot assure you that our subsidiaries will be able to, or be permitted to, pay to us the amounts necessary to service our debt. 

 

The documents governing our and our subsidiaries’ indebtedness contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business

Our material financing agreements, including our credit agreements and indentures, contain various covenants restricting, among other things, our ability to:

 

·         make acquisitions or investments;

·         make loans or otherwise extend credit to others;

·         incur indebtedness or issue shares or guarantees;

·         create liens;

·         enter into transactions with affiliates;

·         sell, lease, transfer or dispose of assets;

24


 

·         merge or consolidate with other companies; and

·         make a substantial change to the general nature of our business.

 

In addition, under our senior secured credit facilities, we are required to comply with certain affirmative covenants and certain specified financial covenants and ratios. For instance, our senior secured credit facilities require us to comply on a quarterly basis with a financial covenant limiting the ratio of our consolidated secured debt, net of cash and cash equivalents, to our consolidated EBITDA (as defined under the terms of our senior secured credit facilities) for the preceding four quarters.  The maximum ratio permitted under this financial covenant for the four quarters ended December 31, 2015 was 8.75 to 1.

 

The restrictions contained in our credit agreements and indentures could affect our ability to operate our business and may limit our ability to react to market conditions or take advantage of potential business opportunities as they arise.  For example, such restrictions could adversely affect our ability to finance our operations, make strategic acquisitions, investments or alliances, restructure our organization or finance our capital needs.  Additionally, our ability to comply with these covenants and restrictions may be affected by events beyond our control.  These include prevailing economic, financial and industry conditions.  If any of these covenants or restrictions is breached, we could be in default under the agreements governing its indebtedness and, as a result, we would be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.

 

Downgrades in our credit ratings may adversely affect our borrowing costs, limit our financing options, reduce our flexibility under future financings and adversely affect our liquidity, and also may adversely impact our business operations

The corporate credit ratings for us and our indirect subsidiary, Clear Channel Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (“CCWH”), are speculative-grade. In December 2015, the corporate family rating for CCWH was revised downward by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.  Furthermore, in January 2016, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, Inc. lowered our corporate credit rating. Any further reductions in our credit ratings could increase our borrowing costs, reduce the availability of financing to us or increase the cost of doing business or otherwise negatively impact our business operations.

 

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor for forward-looking statements made by us or on our behalf.  Except for the historical information, this report contains various forward-looking statements which represent our expectations or beliefs concerning future events, including, without limitation, our future operating and financial performance, our ability to comply with the covenants in the agreements governing our indebtedness and the availability of capital and the terms thereof.  Statements expressing expectations and projections with respect to future matters are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  We caution that these forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are subject to many variables which could impact our future performance.  These statements are made on the basis of management’s views and assumptions, as of the time the statements are made, regarding future events and performance.  There can be no assurance, however, that management’s expectations will necessarily come to pass.  Actual future events and performance may differ materially from the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements.  We do not intend, nor do we undertake any duty, to update any forward-looking statements.

 

A wide range of factors could materially affect future developments and performance, including but not limited to:

 

·         the impact of our substantial indebtedness, including the effect of our leverage on our financial position and earnings;

·         our ability to generate sufficient cash from operations or other liquidity-generating transactions and our need to allocate significant amounts of our cash to make payments on our indebtedness, which in turn could reduce our financial flexibility and ability to fund other activities;

·         risks associated with weak or uncertain global economic conditions and their impact on the capital markets;

·         other general economic and political conditions in the United States and in other countries in which we currently do business, including those resulting from recessions, political events and acts or threats of terrorism or military conflicts;

·         industry conditions, including competition;

·         the level of expenditures on advertising;

·         legislative or regulatory requirements;

·         fluctuations in operating costs;

·         technological changes and innovations;

·         changes in labor conditions, including on-air talent, program hosts and management;

·         capital expenditure requirements;

·         risks of doing business in foreign countries;

·         fluctuations in exchange rates and currency values;

25


 

·         the outcome of pending and future litigation;

·         taxes and tax disputes;

·         changes in interest rates;

·         shifts in population and other demographics;

·         access to capital markets and borrowed indebtedness;

·         our ability to implement our business strategies;

·         the risk that we may not be able to integrate the operations of acquired businesses successfully;

·         the risk that our strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives may not be entirely successful or that any cost savings achieved from such strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives may not be sustained; and

·         certain other factors set forth in our other filings with the SEC.

 

This list of factors that may affect future performance and the accuracy of forward-looking statements is illustrative and is not intended to be exhaustive.  Accordingly, all forward-looking statements should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty.

 

ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

 

ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES

Corporate

Our corporate headquarters are located in San Antonio, Texas, where we lease space in an executive office building and lease a data and administrative service center.  In addition, certain of our executive and other operations are located in New York, New York and London, England.

 

iHM

The types of properties required to support each of our radio stations include offices, studios, transmitter sites and antenna sites.  We either own or lease our transmitter and antenna sites.  During 2015, we sold approximately 376 of our owned broadcast communication tower sites and entered into operating leases for the use of the sites. These leases generally have expiration dates that range from five to 30 years.  A radio station’s studios are generally housed with its offices in downtown  or business districts.  A radio station’s transmitter sites and antenna sites are generally positioned in a manner that provides maximum market coverage.

 

Americas Outdoor and International Outdoor Advertising

The types of properties  required to support each of our outdoor advertising branches include offices, production facilities and structure sites.  An outdoor branch and production facility is generally located in an industrial or warehouse district.

With respect to each of the Americas outdoor and International outdoor segments, we primarily lease our outdoor display sites and own or have acquired permanent easements  for relatively few parcels of real property that serve as the sites for our outdoor displays.  Our leases generally range from month-to-month to year-to-year and can be for terms of 10 years or longer, and many provide for renewal options.

 

There is no significant concentration of displays under any one lease or subject to negotiation with any one landlord.  We believe that an important part of our management activity is to negotiate suitable lease renewals and extensions.

 

Consolidated

The studios and offices of our radio stations and outdoor advertising branches are located in leased or owned  facilities.  These leases generally have expiration dates that range from one to 40 years.  We do not anticipate any difficulties in renewing those leases that expire within the next several years or in leasing other space, if required.  We lease substantially all of our towers and antennas, and own substantially all of the other equipment used in our iHM business. We own substantially all of the equipment used in our outdoor advertising businesses.  For additional information regarding our iHM and outdoor properties, see “Item 1. Business.”

 

ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We currently are involved in certain legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business and, as required, have accrued an estimate of the probable costs for the resolution of those claims for which the occurrence of loss is probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. These estimates have been developed in consultation with counsel and are based upon an

26


 

analysis of potential results, assuming a combination of litigation and settlement strategies. It is possible, however, that future results of operations for any particular period could be materially affected by changes in our assumptions or the effectiveness of our strategies related to these proceedings. Additionally, due to the inherent uncertainty of litigation, there can be no assurance that the resolution of any particular claim or proceeding would not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

 

Although we are involved in a variety of legal proceedings in the ordinary course of business, a large portion of our litigation arises in the following contexts: commercial disputes; defamation matters; employment and benefits related claims; governmental fines; intellectual property claims; and tax disputes.

 

International Investigations

On April 21, 2015, inspections were conducted at our premises in Denmark and Sweden as part of an investigation by Danish competition authorities. On the same day, we received a communication from the U.K. competition authorities, also in connection with the investigation by Danish competition authorities. We are cooperating with the national competition authorities. At this time, the outcome of this investigation is uncertain.

 

ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not Applicable.

 

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT

 

The following information with respect to our executive officers is presented as of February 25, 2016:

 

Name

 

Age

 

Position

Robert W. Pittman

 

62

 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Richard J. Bressler

 

58

 

President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Director

Scott R. Wells

 

47

 

Chief Executive Officer – Clear Channel Outdoor Americas

C. William Eccleshare

 

60

 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer— Clear Channel International

Steven J. Macri

 

47

 

Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance

Scott D. Hamilton

 

46

 

Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Assistant Secretary

Robert H. Walls, Jr.

 

55

 

Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

 

The officers named above serve until their respective successors are chosen and qualified, in each case unless the officer sooner dies, resigns, is removed or becomes disqualified.

 

Robert W. Pittman is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Parent, us and iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC (“iHM Capital I”) and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CCOH. Mr. Pittman was appointed as the Executive Chairman and a director of Parent and us on October 2, 2011. He was appointed as Chairman of Parent and us on May 17, 2013. He also was appointed as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of managers of iHM Capital I on April 26, 2013. Prior to October 2, 2011, Mr. Pittman served as Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms for iHeartMedia and us since November 2010. He has been a member of, and an investor in, Pilot Group, a private equity investment company, since April 2003. Mr. Pittman was formerly Chief Operating Officer of AOL Time Warner, Inc. from May 2002 to July 2002. He also served as Co-Chief Operating Officer of AOL Time Warner, Inc. from January 2001 to May 2002, and earlier, as President and Chief Operating Officer of America Online, Inc. from February 1998 to January 2001. Mr. Pittman serves on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, including the Alliance for Lupus Research, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation, where he has served as past Chairman. Mr. Pittman was selected to serve as a member of our Board because of his service as our Chief Executive Officer, as well as his extensive media experience gained through the course of his career.

 

Richard J. Bressler is the President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Parent and us and the Chief Financial Officer of CCOH.  Mr. Bressler was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer and President of Parent, us and CCOH on July 29, 2013 and as Chief Operating Officer of Parent and us on February 18, 2015. Prior thereto, Mr. Bressler was a Managing

27


 

Director at THL. Prior to joining THL, Mr. Bressler was the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Viacom, Inc. from 2001 through 2005. He also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Time Warner Digital Media and, from 1995 to 1999, was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Time Warner Inc. Prior to joining Time Inc. in 1988, Mr. Bressler was a partner with the accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP since 1979. Mr. Bressler also currently is a director of iHeartMedia, us and Gartner, Inc., a member of the board of managers of iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC and a board observer at Univision Communications Inc. Mr. Bressler previously served as a member of the board of directors of American Media Operations, Inc., Nielsen Holdings B.V. and Warner Music Group Corp. and as a member of the J.P. Morgan Chase National Advisory Board. Mr. Bressler holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from Adelphi University.

 

Scott R. Wells is the Chief Executive Officer of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas at each of the Parent, us and CCOH and was appointed to this position on March 3, 2015.  Previously, Mr. Wells served as an Operating Partner at Bain Capital since January 2011 and prior to that served as an Executive Vice President at Bain Capital since 2007. Mr. Wells also was one of the leaders of the firm’s operationally focused Portfolio Group. Prior to joining Bain Capital, he held several executive roles at Dell, Inc. (“Dell”) from 2004 to 2007, most recently as Vice President of Public Marketing and On-Line in the Americas. Prior to joining Dell, Mr. Wells was a Partner at Bain & Company, where he focused primarily on technology and consumer-oriented companies. Mr. Wells was a member of our Board from August 2008 until March 2015. He currently serves as a director of CRC Health Corporation. He has an M.B.A., with distinction, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from Virginia Tech.

 

C. William Eccleshare is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer- Clear Channel International at each of Parent, us and CCOH and was appointed to this position on March 2, 2015. Prior to such time, he served as Chief Executive Officer – Outdoor of Parent, us and CCOH since January 24, 2012 and as Chief Executive Officer—Outdoor of iHM Capital I on April 26, 2013.  Prior to January 24, 2012, he served as Chief Executive Officer—Clear Channel Outdoor—International of Parent and us since February 17, 2011 and as Chief Executive Officer—International of CCOH since September 1, 2009.  Previously, he was Chairman and CEO of BBDO EMEA from 2005 to 2009.  Prior thereto, he was Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam EMEA since 2002.

 

Steven J. Macri is the Senior Vice President-Corporate Finance of Parent, iHM Capital I, us and CCOH and was appointed to this position on September 9, 2014. Prior thereto, Mr. Macri served as the Chief Financial Officer of Parent’s iHeartMedia division from October 7, 2013 to September 2014. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Macri served as Chief Financial Officer for LogicSource Inc., from March 2012 to September 2013. Prior to joining LogicSource, Mr. Macri was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Warner Music Group Corp. from September 2008 to December 2011 and prior thereto served as Controller and Senior Vice President-Finance from February 2005 to August 2008.

 

Scott D. Hamilton is the Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Assistant Secretary of Parent, us and CCOH. Mr. Hamilton was appointed Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Assistant Secretary of Parent, us and CCOH on April 26, 2010 and was appointed as Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Assistant Secretary of iHM Capital I on April 26, 2013.  Prior to April 26, 2010, Mr. Hamilton served as Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Avaya Inc. (“Avaya”), a multinational telecommunications company, from October 2008 to April 2010.  Prior thereto, Mr. Hamilton served in various accounting and finance positions at Avaya, beginning in October 2004.  Prior thereto, Mr. Hamilton was employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers from September 1992 until September 2004 in various roles including audit, transaction services and technical accounting consulting.

 

Robert H. Walls, Jr. is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Parent, us and CCOH.  Mr. Walls was appointed the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Parent, us and CCOH on January 1, 2010 and was appointed as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of iHM Capital I on April 26, 2013.  On March 31, 2011, Mr. Walls was appointed to serve in the newly-created Office of the Chief Executive Officer for us and CCOH, in addition to his existing offices.  Mr. Walls served in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer for us until October 2, 2011, and served in the Office of the Chief Executive Officer for CCOH until January 24, 2012.  Mr. Walls was a founding partner of Post Oak Energy Capital, LP and served as Managing Director through December 31, 2009 and as an advisor to Post Oak Energy Capital, LP through December 31, 2013.

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PART II

 

ITEM 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Market Information

               There is no established public trading market for our stock. iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC owns all of our issued and outstanding stock. All of iHeartMedia Capital I, LLC’s issued and outstanding equity interests are directly owned by iHeartMedia Capital II, LLC and all of the issued and outstanding equity interests of iHeartMedia Capital II, LLC are owned by Parent. All equity interests in Parent are owned, directly or indirectly, by the Sponsors and their co-investors, public investors and certain employees of Parent and its subsidiaries, including certain executive officers and directors.

 

Dividend Policy

               We have not paid cash dividends on the shares of our common stock since the merger in 2008 and our ability to pay dividends is subject to restrictions should we seek to do so in the future. Our debt financing arrangements include restrictions on our ability to pay distributions.  See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources of Capital” and Note 5 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

Sales of Unregistered Securities

               We did not sell any equity securities during 2015 that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933.

 

Purchases of Equity Securities

               We did not purchase any of our equity securities during the fourth quarter of 2015.

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ITEM 6.  Selected Financial Data

The following tables set forth our summary historical consolidated financial and other data as of the dates and for the periods indicated. The summary historical financial data are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the 2015 presentation.  Historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for future periods.  Acquisitions and dispositions impact the comparability of the historical consolidated financial data reflected in this schedule of Selected Financial Data.

 

               The summary historical consolidated financial and other data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto located within Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

2011

Results of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

$

 6,241,516  

 

$

 6,318,533  

 

$

 6,243,044  

 

$

 6,246,884  

 

$

 6,161,352  

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct operating expenses (excludes depreciation

   and amortization)

 

 2,473,345  

 

 

 2,545,448  

 

 

 2,567,210  

 

 

 2,504,529  

 

 

 2,511,406  

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

   (excludes depreciation and amortization)

 

 1,701,555  

 

 

 1,676,125  

 

 

 1,636,738  

 

 

 1,660,289  

 

 

 1,599,064  

 

Corporate expenses (excludes depreciation

   and amortization)

 

 315,564  

 

 

 320,331  

 

 

 313,514  

 

 

 293,207  

 

 

 237,920  

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 673,991  

 

 

 710,898  

 

 

 730,828  

 

 

 729,285  

 

 

 763,306  

 

Impairment charges (1)

 

 21,631  

 

 

 24,176  

 

 

 16,970  

 

 

 37,651  

 

 

 7,614  

 

Other operating income (expense), net

 

 94,001  

 

 

 40,031  

 

 

 22,998  

 

 

 48,127  

 

 

 12,682  

Operating income

 

 1,149,431  

 

 

 1,081,586  

 

 

 1,000,782  

 

 

 1,070,050  

 

 

 1,054,724  

Interest expense

 

 1,805,496  

 

 

 1,741,596  

 

 

 1,649,451  

 

 

 1,549,023  

 

 

 1,466,246  

Gain (loss) on investments

 

 (4,421) 

 

 

 -    

 

 

 130,879  

 

 

 (4,580) 

 

 

 (4,827) 

Equity in earnings (loss) of

   nonconsolidated affiliates

 

 (902) 

 

 

 (9,416) 

 

 

 (77,696) 

 

 

 18,557  

 

 

 26,958  

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 (2,201) 

 

 

 (43,347) 

 

 

 (87,868) 

 

 

 (254,723) 

 

 

 (1,447) 

Other income (expense), net

 

 13,056  

 

 

 9,104  

 

 

 (21,980) 

 

 

 250  

 

 

 (3,169) 

Loss before income taxes

 

 (650,533) 

 

 

 (703,669) 

 

 

 (705,334) 

 

 

 (719,469) 

 

 

 (394,007) 

Income tax benefit (expense)

 

 (86,957) 

 

 

 (58,489) 

 

 

 121,817  

 

 

 308,279  

 

 

 125,978  

Consolidated net loss

 

 (737,490) 

 

 

 (762,158) 

 

 

 (583,517) 

 

 

 (411,190) 

 

 

 (268,029) 

 

Less amount attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 17,131  

 

 

 31,603  

 

 

 23,366  

 

 

 13,289  

 

 

 34,065  

Net loss attributable to the Company

$

 (754,621) 

 

$

 (793,761) 

 

$

 (606,883) 

 

$

 (424,479) 

 

$

 (302,094) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

We recorded non-cash impairment charges of $21.6 million, $24.2 million, $17.0 million, $37.7 million and $7.6 million during 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011, respectively.  Our impairment charges are discussed more fully in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

(In thousands)

As of December 31,

 

2015

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

2011

Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets

$

 2,810,883  

 

$

 2,142,350  

 

$

 2,461,327  

 

$

 2,987,753  

 

$

 2,985,285  

Property, plant and equipment, net

 

 2,212,556  

 

 

 2,699,064  

 

 

 2,897,630  

 

 

 3,036,854  

 

 

 3,063,327  

Total assets

 

 13,821,098  

 

 

 14,002,449  

 

 

 15,045,335  

 

 

 16,286,659  

 

 

 16,542,039  

Current liabilities

 

 1,659,228  

 

 

 1,364,285  

 

 

 1,763,618  

 

 

 1,782,142  

 

 

 1,428,962  

Long-term debt, net of current maturities

 

 20,687,082  

 

 

 20,322,414  

 

 

 20,030,479  

 

 

 20,365,369  

 

 

 19,938,531  

Shareholder’s deficit

 

 (10,606,681) 

 

 

 (9,665,208) 

 

 

 (8,696,635) 

 

 

 (7,995,191) 

 

 

 (7,471,941) 

30


  

 

 

ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

OVERVIEW

Format of Presentation

Management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations (“MD&A”) should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related footnotes contained in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.  Our discussion is presented on both a consolidated and segment basis.  Our reportable segments are iHeartMedia (“iHM”), Americas outdoor advertising (“Americas outdoor” or “Americas outdoor advertising”), and International outdoor advertising (“International outdoor” or “International outdoor advertising”).  Our iHM segment provides media and entertainment services via live broadcast and digital delivery, and also includes our national syndication business.  Our Americas outdoor and International outdoor segments provide outdoor advertising services in their respective geographic regions using various digital and traditional display types. Included in the “Other” category are our media representation business, Katz Media Group, as well as other general support services and initiatives, which are ancillary to our other businesses.

 

We manage our operating segments primarily focusing on their operating income, while Corporate expenses, Other operating income (expense), net, Interest expense, Gain on marketable securities, Equity in earnings of nonconsolidated affiliates, Gain (loss) on extinguishment of debt, Gain (loss) on extinguishment of debt, Other income (expense), net and Income tax benefit (expense) are managed on a total company basis and are, therefore, included only in our discussion of consolidated results.

 

Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the 2015 presentation.

 

iHM 

Our iHM strategy centers on delivering entertaining and informative content across multiple platforms, including broadcast, mobile and digital, as well as events.  Our primary source of revenue is derived from selling local and national advertising time on our radio stations, with contracts typically less than one year in duration. The programming formats of our radio stations are designed to reach audiences with targeted demographic characteristics.  We are working closely with our advertising and marketing partners to develop tools and leverage data to enable advertisers to effectively reach their desired audiences. We continue to expand the choices for listeners and we deliver our content and sell advertising across multiple distribution channels including digitally via our iHeartRadio mobile application and other digital platforms which reach national, regional and local audiences.  We also generate revenues from network syndication, our nationally recognized live events, our station websites and other miscellaneous transactions.

 

iHM management monitors average advertising rates and cost per minute (“CPM”), which are principally based on the length of the spot and how many people in a targeted audience listen to our stations, as measured by an independent ratings service.  In addition, our advertising rates are influenced by the time of day the advertisement airs, with morning and evening drive-time hours typically priced the highest.  Our price and yield information systems enable our station managers and sales teams to adjust commercial inventory and pricing based on local market demand, as well as to manage and monitor different commercial durations in order to provide more effective advertising for our customers at what we believe are optimal prices given market conditions. Yield is measured by management in a variety of ways, including revenue earned divided by minutes of advertising sold.

 

Management looks at our iHM operations’ overall revenue as well as the revenue from each type of advertising, including local advertising, which is sold predominately in a station’s local market, and national advertising, which is sold across multiple markets.  Local advertising is sold by each radio station’s sales staff while national advertising is sold by our national sales team.  Local advertising, which is our largest source of advertising revenue, and national advertising revenues are tracked separately because these revenue streams have different sales teams and respond differently to changes in the economic environment.  We periodically review and refine our selling structures in all regions and markets in an effort to maximize the value of our offering to advertisers and, therefore, our revenue.

 

Management also looks at iHM revenue by region and market size.  Typically, larger markets can reach larger audiences with wider demographics than smaller markets.  Additionally, management reviews our share of iHM advertising revenues in markets where such information is available, as well as our share of target demographics listening in an average quarter hour.  This metric gauges how well our formats are attracting and retaining listeners.

 

A portion of our iHM segment’s expenses vary in connection with changes in revenue.  These variable expenses primarily relate to costs in our sales department, such as commissions, and bad debt.  Our content costs, including music royalty and license fees for music delivered via broadcast or digital streaming, vary with the volume and mix of songs played on our stations and the listening

31


  

hours on our digital platforms.  Our programming and general and administrative departments incur most of our fixed costs, such as utilities and office salaries.  We incur discretionary costs in our advertising, marketing and promotions, which we primarily use in an effort to maintain and/or increase our audience share. Lastly, we have incentive systems in each of our departments which provide for bonus payments based on specific performance metrics, including ratings, revenue, pricing and overall profitability.

 

Outdoor Advertising

Our outdoor advertising revenue is derived from selling advertising space on the displays we own or operate in key markets worldwide, consisting primarily of billboards, street furniture and transit displays.  Part of our long-term strategy for our outdoor advertising businesses is to pursue the technology of digital displays, including flat screens, LCDs and LEDs, as additions to traditional methods of displaying our clients’ advertisements. We are currently installing these technologies in certain markets, both domestically and internationally.

 

Management typically monitors our outdoor advertising business by reviewing the average rates, average revenue per display, occupancy and inventory levels of each of our display types by market.

 

We own the majority of our advertising displays, which typically are located on sites that we either lease or own or for which we have acquired permanent easements.  Our advertising contracts with clients typically outline the number of displays reserved, the duration of the advertising campaign and the unit price per display.

 

The significant expenses associated with our operations include direct production, maintenance and installation expenses as well as site lease expenses for land under our displays including revenue-sharing or minimum guaranteed amounts payable under our billboard, street furniture and transit display contracts.  Our direct production, maintenance and installation expenses include costs for printing, transporting and changing the advertising copy on our displays, the related labor costs, the vinyl and paper costs, electricity costs and the costs for cleaning and maintaining our displays.  Vinyl and paper costs vary according to the complexity of the advertising copy and the quantity of displays.  Our site lease expenses include lease payments for use of the land under our displays, as well as any revenue-sharing arrangements or minimum guaranteed amounts payable that we may have with the landlords.  The terms of our site leases and revenue-sharing or minimum guaranteed contracts generally range from one to 20 years.

 

Americas Outdoor Advertising

Our advertising rates are based on a number of different factors including location, competition, type and size of display, illumination, market and gross ratings points.  Gross ratings points are the total number of impressions delivered by a display or group of displays, expressed as a percentage of a market population.  The number of impressions delivered by a display is measured by the number of people passing the site during a defined period of time.  For all of our billboards in the United States, we use independent, third-party auditing companies to verify the number of impressions delivered by a display.

 

Client contract terms typically range from four weeks to one year for the majority of our display inventory in the United States.  Generally, we own the street furniture structures and are responsible for their construction and maintenance.  Contracts for the right to place our street furniture and transit displays and sell advertising space on them are awarded by municipal and transit authorities in competitive bidding processes governed by local law or are negotiated with private transit operators.  Generally, these contracts have terms ranging from 10 to 20 years.

 

International Outdoor Advertising

Similar to our Americas outdoor business, advertising rates generally are based on the gross ratings points of a display or group of displays. The number of impressions delivered by a display, in some countries, is weighted to account for such factors as illumination, proximity to other displays and the speed and viewing angle of approaching traffic.  In addition, because our International outdoor advertising operations are conducted in foreign markets, including Europe, Asia and Australia, management reviews the operating results from our foreign operations on a constant dollar basis.  A constant dollar basis allows for comparison of operations independent of foreign exchange movements.

 

Our International display inventory is typically sold to clients through network packages, with client contract terms typically ranging from one to two weeks with terms of up to one year available as well.  Internationally, contracts with municipal and transit authorities for the right to place our street furniture and transit displays typically provide for terms ranging from three to 15 years. The major difference between our International and Americas street furniture businesses is in the nature of the municipal contracts.  In our International outdoor business, these contracts typically require us to provide the municipality with a broader range of metropolitan amenities in exchange for which we are authorized to sell advertising space on certain sections of the structures we erect in the public domain.  A different regulatory environment for billboards and competitive bidding for street furniture and transit display contracts,

32


  

which constitute a larger portion of our business internationally, may result in higher site lease costs in our International business.  As a result, our margins are typically lower in our International business than in our Americas outdoor business.

 

Macroeconomic Indicators

Our advertising revenue for all of our segments is highly correlated to changes in gross domestic product (“GDP”) as advertising spending has historically trended in line with GDP, both domestically and internationally. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, estimated U.S. GDP growth for 2015 was 2.4%. Internationally, our results are impacted by fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates as well as the economic conditions in the foreign markets in which we have operations.

 

Executive Summary

The key developments in our business for the year ended December 31, 2015 are summarized below:

·         Consolidated revenue decreased $77.0 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $229.0 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, consolidated revenue increased $152.0 million during 2015 compared to 2014.

·         We spent $42.8 million on strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives during 2015 to realign and improve our on-going business operations—a decrease of $27.8 million compared to the same period of 2014.

·         In February 2015, we issued $950.0 million aggregate principal amount of 10.625% priority guarantee notes due 2023. We used the gross proceeds from the issuance of the notes to prepay at par $916.1 million of the loans outstanding under our term loan B facility and $15.2 million of the loans outstanding under our term loan C asset sale facility and to pay accrued and unpaid interest on such loans and related fees and expenses.

·         In April and July 2015, we and certain of our subsidiaries completed the sale of 376 of our broadcast communications tower sites and related assets in exchange for $369.9 million of proceeds. Simultaneous with the closings, we entered into lease agreements for the continued use of 367 of the towers sold.

·         On December 16, 2015, Clear Channel International B.V. (“CCIBV”), our indirect subsidiary, issued $225.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 8.75% Senior Notes due 2020. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (“CCOH”), an indirect parent company of CCIBV, used the proceeds of the offering to fund a special cash dividend in an aggregate amount equal to approximately $217.8 million to its stockholders. We received $196.3 million of the dividend through three of our wholly-owned subsidiaries.

 

Revenues and expenses “excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements” in this Management’s Discussion & Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations is presented because management believes that viewing certain financial results without the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency rates facilitates period to period comparisons of business performance and provides useful information to investors.  Revenues and expenses “excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements” are calculated by converting the current period’s revenues and expenses in local currency to U.S. dollars using average foreign exchange rates for the prior period. 

 

33


  

Consolidated Results of Operations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               The comparison of our historical results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2015 to the year ended December 31, 2014 is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

Revenue

$

 6,241,516  

 

$

 6,318,533  

 

 (1%) 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct operating expenses (excludes depreciation and amortization)

 

 2,473,345  

 

 

 2,545,448  

 

 (3%) 

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses (excludes depreciation and amortization)

 

 1,701,555  

 

 

 1,676,125  

 

 2%  

 

Corporate expenses (excludes depreciation and amortization)

 

 315,564  

 

 

 320,331  

 

 (1%) 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 673,991  

 

 

 710,898  

 

 (5%) 

 

Impairment charges

 

 21,631  

 

 

 24,176  

 

 (11%) 

 

Other operating income, net

 

 94,001  

 

 

 40,031  

 

 135%  

Operating income

 

 1,149,431  

 

 

 1,081,586  

 

 6%  

Interest expense

 

 1,805,496  

 

 

 1,741,596  

 

 

Loss on investments, net

 

 (4,421) 

 

 

 -    

 

 

Equity in loss of nonconsolidated affiliates

 

 (902) 

 

 

 (9,416) 

 

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 (2,201) 

 

 

 (43,347) 

 

 

Other income, net

 

 13,056  

 

 

 9,104  

 

 

Loss before income taxes

 

 (650,533) 

 

 

 (703,669) 

 

 

Income tax expense

 

 (86,957) 

 

 

 (58,489) 

 

 

Consolidated net loss

 

 (737,490) 

 

 

 (762,158) 

 

 

 

Less amount attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 17,131  

 

 

 31,603  

 

 

Net loss attributable to the Company

$

 (754,621) 

 

$

 (793,761) 

 

 

 

Consolidated Revenue

Consolidated revenue decreased $77.0 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $229.0 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, consolidated revenue increased $152.0 million during 2015 compared to 2014. iHM revenue increased $122.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014 driven primarily by our core radio business, both broadcast and digital, including the impact of marketing partnerships with our advertisers for live events and barter and trade revenue, partially offset by a decrease in political advertising revenues. Americas outdoor revenue decreased $1.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $23.4 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, Americas outdoor revenue increased $21.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily driven by higher revenues from digital billboards and our Spectacolor business. International outdoor revenue decreased $153.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $205.6 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, International outdoor revenue increased $52.2 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily driven by new contracts and the impact of sales initiatives.  Other revenues decreased $48.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily as a result of lower political advertising revenues and lower contract termination fees earned by our media representation business.

 

Consolidated Direct Operating Expenses

Consolidated direct operating expenses decreased $72.1 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $146.6 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, consolidated direct operating expenses increased $74.5 million during 2015 compared to 2014. iHM direct operating expenses increased $40.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014, primarily due to higher music license and performance royalties, higher lease expense as a result of the sale and subsequent leaseback of broadcast communication tower sites and higher compensation related to radio programming. Americas outdoor direct operating expenses decreased $8.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $13.1 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, Americas outdoor direct operating expenses increased $4.7 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher variable site lease expenses related to the increase in revenues. International outdoor direct operating expenses decreased $93.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $133.5 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, International outdoor direct operating expenses increased $39.9 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily as a result of higher variable costs associated with higher revenue, as well as higher spending on strategic efficiency initiatives.

 

34


  

Consolidated Selling, General and Administrative (“SG&A”) Expenses

Consolidated SG&A expenses increased $25.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $51.1 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, consolidated SG&A expenses increased $76.5 million during 2015 compared to 2014.  iHM SG&A expenses increased $51.3 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher barter and trade expenses, higher sales expense, including commissions related to higher revenue and higher bad debt expense. Americas outdoor SG&A expenses decreased $0.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $6.0 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, Americas outdoor SG&A expenses increased $5.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily in Latin America. International outdoor SG&A expenses decreased $16.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $45.0 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, International outdoor SG&A expenses increased $28.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher compensation expense, including commissions in connection with higher revenues.

 

Corporate Expenses

Corporate expenses decreased $4.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $3.5 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, corporate expenses decreased $1.3 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to a $20.2 million decrease in spending related to our strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives. This was partially offset by the impact of an $8.5 million insurance recovery related to shareholder litigation recognized in 2014, higher variable compensation expense related to period performance and higher legal fees related to the negotiation of digital royalty rates before the Copyright Royalty Board.

 

Revenue and Efficiency Initiatives

Included in the amounts for direct operating expenses, SG&A and corporate expenses discussed above are expenses of $42.8 million incurred in 2015 in connection with our strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives. The costs were incurred to improve revenue growth, enhance yield, reduce costs and organize each business to maximize performance and profitability.  These costs consist primarily of consolidation of locations and positions, severance related to workforce initiatives, consulting expenses and other costs incurred in connection with streamlining our businesses. These costs are expected to provide benefits in future periods as the initiative results are realized.

 

Of the strategic revenue and efficiency costs for 2015, $14.0 million are reported within direct operating expenses, $15.0 million are reported within SG&A and $13.8 million are reported within corporate expense.  In 2014, such costs totaled $13.0 million, $23.7 million, and $34.0 million, respectively.

 

Depreciation and Amortization

Depreciation and amortization decreased $36.9 million during 2015 compared to 2014, primarily due to assets becoming fully depreciated or fully amortized as well as the impact of movements in foreign exchange rates.

 

Impairment Charges

Historically, we performed our annual impairment test on our goodwill, FCC licenses, billboard permits, and other intangible assets as of October 1 of each year.  Beginning in the third quarter of 2015, we began performing our annual impairment test on July 1 of each year.  In addition, we test for impairment of property, plant and equipment whenever events and circumstances indicate that depreciable assets might be impaired.  As a result of these impairment tests, during 2015 we recorded impairment charges of $21.6 million related to billboard permits in one Americas outdoor market.  During 2014, we recognized impairment charges of $24.2 million primarily related to the impairment of FCC licenses in eight markets due to changes in the discount rates and weighted-average cost of capital for those markets. Please see Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements located in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a further description of the impairment charges.

 

Other Operating Income, Net

Other operating income of $94.0 million in 2015 primarily related to the gain on the sale of radio towers which were subsequently leased back (see Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements located in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K).

 

Other operating income of $40.0 million in 2014 primarily related to a non-cash gain of $43.5 million recognized on the sale of non-core radio stations in exchange for a portfolio of 29 stations in five markets.

 

35


  

Interest Expense

Interest expense increased $63.9 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to the weighted average cost of debt increasing due to debt refinancing transactions that resulted in higher interest rates. Please refer to “Sources of Capital” for additional discussion of debt issuances and exchanges. Our weighted average cost of debt during 2015 and 2014 was 8.5% and 8.1%, respectively.

 

Loss on Investments, Net

In 2015, we recognized a loss of $5.0 million related to cost method investments. 

 

Equity in Loss of Nonconsolidated Affiliates

Equity in loss of nonconsolidated affiliates was $0.9 million for 2015.

 

Equity in loss of nonconsolidated affiliates of $9.4 million during 2014 primarily related to the $4.5 million gain on the sale of our 50% interest in Buspak, offset by the sale of our 50% interest in ARN, which included a loss on the sale of $2.4 million and $11.5 million of foreign exchange losses that were reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive income at the date of the sale.

 

Loss on Extinguishment of Debt

In connection with the first quarter 2015 prepayment of our Term Loan B facility and Term Loan C-asset sale facility, we recognized a loss of $2.2 million.

 

During the fourth quarter of 2014, CC Finco, LLC (“CC Finco”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of ours, repurchased $57.1 million aggregate principal amount of our 5.5% Senior Notes due 2016 and $120.0 million aggregate principal amount of our 10.0% Senior Notes due 2018 for a total of $159.3 million, including accrued interest, through open market purchases. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a net gain of $12.9 million.

 

In September 2014, we prepaid $974.9 million of the loans outstanding under its Term Loan B facility and $16.1 million of the loans outstanding under its Term Loan C-asset sale facility. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a loss of $4.8 million.

 

During June 2014, we redeemed $567.1 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.5% Senior Notes due 2014 and $241.0 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 4.9% Senior Notes due 2015. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a loss of $47.5 million.

 

During the first quarter of 2014, CC Finco repurchased $52.9 million aggregate principal amount of our outstanding 5.5% Senior Notes due 2014 and $9.0 million aggregate principal amount of our outstanding 4.9% Senior Notes due 2015 for a total of $63.1 million, including accrued interest, through open market purchases. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a loss of $3.9 million.

 

Other Income, Net

Other income of $13.1 million and $9.1 million for 2015 and 2014, respectively, primarily related to gains on foreign exchange transactions.

 

Income Tax Expense

The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2015 was (13.4%) as compared to (8.3%) for the year ended December 31, 2014.  The effective tax rate for 2015 was impacted by the $305.3 million valuation allowance recorded against our current period federal and state net operating losses due to the uncertainty of the ability to utilize those losses in future periods.  The valuation allowance was recorded against the Company’s current period federal and state net operating losses due to the uncertainty of the ability to utilize these losses in future periods. 

 

The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2014 was (8.3%) and was primarily impacted by the $339.8 million valuation allowance recorded during the period as additional deferred tax expense. The valuation allowance was recorded against a portion of the U.S. Federal and State net operating losses due to the uncertainty of the ability to utilize those losses in future periods. This expense was partially offset by $28.9 million in net tax benefits associated with a decrease in unrecognized tax benefits resulting from the expiration of statutes of limitations to assess taxes in the United Kingdom and several state jurisdictions.

 

36


  

iHM Results of Operations

               Our iHM operating results were as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

Revenue

$

 3,284,320  

 

$

 3,161,503  

 

 4%  

Direct operating expenses

 

 972,937  

 

 

 932,172  

 

 4%  

SG&A expenses

 

 1,065,716  

 

 

 1,014,432  

 

 5%  

Depreciation and amortization

 

 240,230  

 

 

 240,868  

 

 (0%) 

Operating income

$

 1,005,437  

 

$

 974,031  

 

 3%  

 

iHM revenue increased $122.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014 driven primarily by increases in our core radio business, both broadcast and digital, including the impact of marketing partnerships with our advertisers for live events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeart Country Festival and iHeartRadio Jingle Balls concert tour, and barter and trade revenue. Revenue also increased for our traffic and weather business, as well as growth in our syndication business driven by growth in our news/talk format. Partially offsetting these increases were decreases in political advertising revenues as a result of 2015 not being a congressional election year.

 

iHM direct operating expenses increased $40.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014, primarily due to higher music license and performance royalties, higher lease expense as a result of the sale and subsequent leaseback of radio tower sites (see Note 2 to our Consolidated Financial Statements located in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K) and higher radio programming costs. iHM SG&A expenses increased $51.3 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher barter and trade expenses, higher bad debt expense and investments in national and digital sales capabilities, partially offset by lower advertising and promotion expense and lower legal expense. Strategic revenue and efficiency spending included in SG&A expenses decreased $3.9 million compared to the same period last year.

 

Americas Outdoor Advertising Results of Operations

             Our Americas outdoor operating results were as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

Revenue

$

 1,349,021  

 

$

 1,350,623  

 

 (0%) 

Direct operating expenses

 

 597,382  

 

 

 605,771  

 

 (1%) 

SG&A expenses

 

 233,254  

 

 

 233,641  

 

 (0%) 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 204,514  

 

 

 203,928  

 

 0%  

Operating income

$

 313,871  

 

$

 307,283  

 

 2%  

 

Americas outdoor revenue decreased $1.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $23.4 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, Americas outdoor revenue increased $21.8 million during 2015 compared to 2014 driven primarily by an increase in revenues from digital billboards as a result of new deployments, as well as from our Spectacolor business, partially offset by lower advertising revenues from our static bulletins and posters, and our airports business.

 

Americas outdoor direct operating expenses decreased $8.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $13.1 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, Americas outdoor direct operating expenses increased $4.7 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher variable site lease expenses related to the increase in revenues. Americas outdoor SG&A expenses decreased $0.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $6.0 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, Americas outdoor SG&A expenses increased $5.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher expenses in Latin America.

 

37


  

International Outdoor Advertising Results of Operations

               Our International outdoor operating results were as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

2015

 

2014

 

Change

Revenue

$

 1,457,183  

 

$

 1,610,636  

 

 (10%) 

Direct operating expenses

 

 897,520  

 

 

 991,117  

 

 (9%) 

SG&A expenses

 

 298,250  

 

 

 314,878  

 

 (5%) 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 166,060  

 

 

 198,143  

 

 (16%) 

Operating income

$

 95,353  

 

$

 106,498  

 

 (10%) 

 

International outdoor revenue decreased $153.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $205.6 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, International outdoor revenue increased $52.2 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily driven by new contracts along with higher occupancy and higher rates for our transit and street furniture products, particularly digital, in certain European countries, including Sweden, Norway, Italy and the UK, as well as from new contracts in Australia and China.

 

International outdoor direct operating expenses decreased $93.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $133.5 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, International outdoor direct operating expenses increased $39.9 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily as a result of higher variable costs associated with higher revenue, as well as site lease termination fees on lower-margin boards incurred in connection with strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives. International outdoor SG&A expenses decreased $16.6 million during 2015 compared to 2014. Excluding the $45.0 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, International outdoor SG&A expenses increased $28.4 million during 2015 compared to 2014 primarily due to higher compensation expense, including commissions in connection with higher revenues.

 

Depreciation and amortization decreased $32.1 million. Excluding the $19.5 million impact from movements in foreign exchange rates, depreciation and amortization decreased $12.6 million primarily due to assets becoming fully depreciated or fully amortized.

 

Also included in International Outdoor direct operating expenses and SG&A expenses are $8.2 million and $3.2 million, respectively, recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015 to correct for accounting errors included in the results for our Netherlands subsidiary reported in prior years. Such corrections are not considered to be material to the current year or prior year financial results.

 

38


  

Consolidated Results of Operations

               The comparison of our historical results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2014 to the year ended December 31, 2013 is as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

Change

Revenue

$

 6,318,533  

 

$

 6,243,044  

 

 1%  

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direct operating expenses (excludes depreciation and amortization)

 

 2,545,448  

 

 

 2,567,210  

 

 (1%) 

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses (excludes depreciation

   and amortization)

 

 1,676,125  

 

 

 1,636,738  

 

 2%  

 

Corporate expenses (excludes depreciation and amortization)

 

 320,331  

 

 

 313,514  

 

 2%  

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 710,898  

 

 

 730,828  

 

 (3%) 

 

Impairment charges

 

 24,176  

 

 

 16,970  

 

 42%  

 

Other operating income, net

 

 40,031  

 

 

 22,998  

 

 74%  

Operating income

 

 1,081,586  

 

 

 1,000,782  

 

 8%  

Interest expense

 

 1,741,596  

 

 

 1,649,451  

 

 

Gain (loss) on marketable securities

 

 -    

 

 

 130,879  

 

 

Equity in earnings (loss) of nonconsolidated affiliates

 

 (9,416) 

 

 

 (77,696) 

 

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 (43,347) 

 

 

 (87,868) 

 

 

Other income (expense), net

 

 9,104  

 

 

 (21,980) 

 

 

Loss before income taxes

 

 (703,669) 

 

 

 (705,334) 

 

 

Income tax benefit

 

 (58,489) 

 

 

 121,817  

 

 

Consolidated net loss

 

 (762,158) 

 

 

 (583,517) 

 

 

 

Less amount attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

 31,603  

 

 

 23,366  

 

 

Net loss attributable to the Company

$

 (793,761) 

 

$

 (606,883) 

 

 

 

Consolidated Revenue

Our consolidated revenue during 2014 increased $75.5 million including a decrease of $22.7 million from movements in foreign exchange compared to 2013. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, consolidated revenue increased $98.2 million. Our iHM revenue increased $29.9 million driven by increased revenues from political advertising, our traffic and weather business, core national broadcast radio and digital revenues.  Americas outdoor revenue decreased $35.1 million compared to 2013, including negative movements in foreign exchange of $9.4 million. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, Americas outdoor revenue decreased $25.7 million primarily driven by lower revenues generated by national accounts and the nonrenewal of certain airport contracts, and lower revenues in our Los Angeles market as a result of the impact of litigation. Our International outdoor revenue increased $50.2 million compared to 2013, including negative movements in foreign exchange of $13.3 million. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, International outdoor revenue increased $63.5 million primarily driven by new contracts and from growth in Europe and emerging markets. Other revenues increased $30.7 million primarily as a result of higher political revenues and a contract termination fee of $15 million earned by our media representation business.

 

Consolidated Direct Operating Expenses

Consolidated direct operating expenses during 2014 decreased $21.9 million including a decrease of $11.9 million from movements in foreign exchange compared to 2013. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, consolidated direct operating expenses decreased $10.0 million. Our iHM direct operating expenses decreased $23.6 million compared to 2013, primarily resulting from lower costs in our national syndication business partially offset by higher programming and content costs.  Direct operating expenses in our Americas outdoor segment decreased $5.0 million compared to 2013, including a decrease of $6.0 million from movements in foreign exchange. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, direct operating expenses in our Americas outdoor segment increased $1.0 million. Direct operating expenses in our International outdoor segment increased $7.1 million compared to 2013, including a decrease of $5.9 million from movements in foreign exchange. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, direct operating expenses in our International outdoor segment increased $13.0 million primarily as a result of higher variable costs associated with new contracts.

 

39


  

Consolidated SG&A Expenses

Consolidated SG&A expenses during 2014 increased $39.4 million including a decrease of $4.6 million from movements in foreign exchange compared to 2013. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, consolidated SG&A expenses increased $44.0 million. Our iHM SG&A expenses increased $31.9 million primarily due to higher compensation expense, including commissions. SG&A expenses decreased $9.8 million in our Americas outdoor segment including a decrease of $1.9 million from movements in foreign exchange compared to 2013. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, SG&A expenses in our Americas outdoor segment decreased $7.9 million primarily due to lower commission expense in connection with lower revenues and property tax refunds. Our International outdoor SG&A expenses increased $14.8 million compared to 2013, including a $2.7 million decrease due to the effects of movements in foreign exchange. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange movements, SG&A expenses in our International outdoor segment increased $17.5 million primarily due to higher compensation expense, including commissions, in connection with higher revenues, as well as higher litigation expenses.

 

Corporate Expenses

Corporate expenses increased $6.8 million compared to 2013 primarily due to increased employee benefits costs, higher strategic revenue and efficiency costs and higher compensation expenses related to our variable compensation plans, partially offset by an $8.5 million credit for the realization of an insurance recovery related to litigation filed by stockholders of CCOH and lower legal costs related to this litigation.

 

Revenue and Efficiency Initiatives

Included in the amounts for direct operating expenses, SG&A and corporate expenses discussed above are expenses of $70.6 million incurred in connection with our strategic revenue and efficiency initiatives. The costs were incurred to improve revenue growth, enhance yield, reduce costs, and organize each business to maximize performance and profitability.  These costs consist primarily of consolidation of locations and positions, severance related to workforce initiatives, consulting expenses, and other costs incurred in connection with streamlining our businesses.

 

Of the strategic revenue and efficiency costs, $13.0 million are reported within direct operating expenses, $23.6 million are reported within SG&A and $34.0 million are reported within corporate expense.  In 2013, such costs totaled $15.1 million, $22.3 million, and $20.5 million, respectively.

 

Depreciation and Amortization

Depreciation and amortization decreased $19.9 million during 2014 compared to 2013, primarily due to intangible assets becoming fully amortized.

 

Impairment Charges

We performed our annual impairment tests as of October 1, 2014 and 2013 on our goodwill, FCC licenses, billboard permits, and other intangible assets.  In addition, we test for impairment of property, plant and equipment whenever events and circumstances indicate that depreciable assets might be impaired.  As a result of these impairment tests, we recorded impairment charges of $24.2 million and $17.0 million during 2014 and 2013, respectively.  During 2014, we recognized a $15.7 impairment charge related to FCC licenses in eight markets due to changes in the discount rates and weight-average cost of capital for those markets. During 2013, we recognized a $10.7 million goodwill impairment charge in our International outdoor segment related to a decline in the estimated fair value of one market.  Please see Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of Part II of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a further description of the impairment charges.

 

Other Operating Income, Net

Other operating income of $40.0 million in 2014 primarily related to a non-cash gain of $43.5 million recognized on the sale of non-core radio stations in exchange for a portfolio of 29 stations in five markets.

 

Other operating income of $23.0 million in 2013 primarily related to the gain on the sale of certain outdoor assets in our Americas outdoor segment.

 

Interest Expense

Interest expense increased $92.1 million during 2014 compared to 2013 primarily due to the weighted average cost of debt increasing as a result of debt refinancing transactions that occurred since 2013. Please refer to “Sources of Capital” for additional discussion of debt issuances and exchanges. Our weighted average cost of debt during 2014 and 2013 was 8.1% and 7.6%, respectively.

40


  

 

Gain on Marketable Securities

The gain on marketable securities of $130.9 million during 2013 resulted from the sale of the shares we held in Sirius XM Radio, Inc.

 

Equity in Loss of Nonconsolidated Affiliates

Equity in loss of nonconsolidated affiliates of $9.4 million for 2014 primarily related to the $4.5 million gain on the sale of our 50% interest in Buspak in the third quarter, offset by the first quarter 2014 sale of our 50% interest in Australian Radio Network Pty Ltd (“ARN”), which included a loss on the sale of $2.4 million and $11.5 million of foreign exchange losses that were reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive income at the date of the sale.

 

Equity in loss of nonconsolidated affiliates of $77.7 million for 2013 primarily included the loss from our investments in Australia Radio Network and New Zealand Radio Network.  On February 18, 2014, a subsidiary of ours sold its 50% interest in ARN.  As of December 31, 2013 the book value of our investment in ARN exceeded the estimated selling price.  Accordingly, we recorded an impairment charge of $95.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2013 to write down the investment to its estimated fair value.

 

Loss on Extinguishment of Debt

During the fourth quarter of 2014, CC Finco repurchased $57.1 million aggregate principal amount of our 5.5% Senior Notes due 2016 and $120.0 million aggregate principal amount of our 10.0% Senior Notes due 2018 for a total of $159.3 million, including accrued interest, through open market purchases. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a net gain of $12.9 million.

 

In September 2014, we prepaid $974.9 million of the loans outstanding under its Term Loan B facility and $16.1 million of the loans outstanding under its Term Loan C-asset sale facility. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a loss of $4.8 million.

 

During June 2014,  we redeemed $567.1 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 5.5% Senior Notes due 2014 and $241.0 million aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 4.9% Senior Notes due 2015. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a loss of $47.5 million.

 

During the first quarter of 2014, CC Finco repurchased $52.9 million aggregate principal amount of our outstanding 5.5% Senior Notes due 2014 and $9.0 million aggregate principal amount of our outstanding 4.9% Senior Notes due 2015 for a total of $63.1 million, including accrued interest, through open market purchases. In connection with these transactions, we recognized a loss of $3.9 million.

 

During 2013, we recognized a loss of $84.0 million due to a debt exchange related to our 10.75% Senior Cash Pay Notes due 2016 and 11.00%/11.75% Senior Toggle Notes due 2016 into 14.0% Senior Notes due 2021. In addition, we recognized a loss of $3.9 million due to the write-off of deferred loan costs in connection with the prepayment of Term Loan A of our senior secured credit facilities.

 

Other Income (Expense), Net

Other income of $9.1 million for 2014 primarily related to gains on foreign exchange transactions.

 

In connection with the June 2013 exchange offer of a portion of 10.75% Senior Cash Pay Notes due 2016 and 11.00%/11.75% Senior Toggle Notes due 2016 for newly-issued 14.0% Senior Notes due 2021 and in connection with the senior secured credit facility amendments discussed elsewhere in the MD&A, all of which were accounted for as modifications of existing debt, we incurred expenses of $23.6 million partially offset by $1.8 million in foreign exchange gains on short-term intercompany accounts.

 

Income Tax Benefit

The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2014 was (8.3%) as compared to 17.3% for the year ended December 31, 2013.  The effective tax rate for 2014 was impacted by the $339.8 million valuation allowance recorded against the Company’s current period federal and state net operating losses due to the uncertainty of the ability to utilize those losses in future periods.  This expense was partially offset by $28.9 million in net tax benefits associated with a decrease in unrecognized tax benefits resulting from the expiration of statutes of limitations to assess taxes in the United Kingdom and several state jurisdictions. 

 

41


  

The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2013 was 17.3% and was primarily impacted by the $143.5 million valuation allowance recorded during the period as additional deferred tax expense. The valuation allowance was recorded against a portion of the U.S. Federal and State net operating losses due to the uncertainty of the ability to utilize those losses in future periods. This expense was partially offset by tax benefits recorded during the period due to the settlement of our U.S. Federal and certain State tax examinations during the year. Pursuant to the settlements, we recorded a reduction to income tax expense of approximately $20.2 million to reflect the net tax benefits of the settlements.

 

iHM Results of Operations

               Our iHM operating results were as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

2014

 

2013

 

Change

Revenue

$

 3,161,503  

 

$

 3,131,595  

 

1%

Direct operating expenses

 

 932,172  

 

 

 955,767  

 

(2%)

SG&A expenses

 

 1,014,432  

 

 

 982,514  

 

3%

Depreciation and amortization

 

 240,868  

 

 

 262,136  

 

(8%)

Operating income

$

 974,031  

 

$

 931,178  

 

5%

 

iHM revenue increased $29.9 million during 2014 compared to 2013 driven primarily by political advertising, our traffic and weather business and the impact of strategic sales initiatives, and higher core national broadcast revenues, including events and digital revenue. Digital streaming revenue was higher for the year as a result of increased advertising on our iHeartRadio platform. Partially offsetting these increases was a decrease in core local broadcast radio and syndication revenues.

 

Direct operating expenses decreased $23.6 million during 2014, primarily resulting from lower costs in our national syndication business partially offset by higher programming and content costs, including sports programming and music license and performance royalties. SG&A expenses increased $31.9 million during 2014 primarily due to higher compensation expense, including commissions. Strategic revenue and efficiency costs included in SG&A expenses increased $4.4 million compared to 2013.

 

Depreciation and amortization decreased $21.3 million, primarily due to intangible assets becoming fully amortized.

 

Americas Outdoor Advertising Results of Operations

               Our Americas outdoor advertising operating results were as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(In thousands)

Years Ended December 31,

 

%

 

2014

 

2013

 </