Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment Launches New Audio Division With Exclusive Slate Podcast Deal With iHeartMedia

Los Angeles, December 6, 2021 – Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard announced the launch of their new podcast division, Imagine Audio, fueled by an exclusive slate deal with iHeartMedia, the number one podcast publisher globally. The deal will include a slate of co-produced, unscripted podcasts, further expanding Imagine’s IP verticals beyond the traditional screens. The partnership will collaborate to launch six new series over the next two years distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network. The division will be overseen by Imagine’s Chief Strategy Officer, Justin Wilkes and led by producer, Kara Welker.

"We couldn’t be more excited to have iHeart as our partner as we launch the Imagine brand into the audio space,” said Imagine’s Justin Wilkes. “Audio has proven to be a fantastic incubator and engine for IP development and between our connectivity to talent and storytellers, as well as our ability to create high-quality content, we’re incredibly well positioned to enter the category.”

Imagine Audio will take a 360 approach to content across the Imagine brand by not only creating podcasts, but fully immersive experiences that will extend into TV, film, live events and tours and merchandise, while leveraging all of Imagine’s divisions and vast library of memorable IP. Imagine Audio will differentiate itself in the marketplace by producing premium scripted and non-scripted content that’s sonically rich and benefits from the highest level of production value. The division is currently working with established talent as well as new voices across a slate audio productions in development and production which will be announced in the new year.

Welker, who is also a talent manager and producer, brings years of expertise of spotting talent and stories, and developing her clients and their projects into multi-platform revenue generators. Summer Sagansky has also joined the division as a Creative Executive.

“Imagine stands for the very highest quality content – behind some of the greatest film, TV and digital content the world has seen,” said Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. “As the largest podcast network in the world, our goal is simple and consistent: We want to work with the most innovative, passionate storytellers in the world – producers who don’t just work in mediums, but who pioneer them. That’s Imagine.”

iHeartMedia’s iHeartPodcast Network is home to more than 750 iHeartRadio Original Podcasts which see more than 321 million downloads each month globally. These podcasts span every category from business, sports, spirituality and technology to entertainment, family, comedy and true crime – and everything in between – making iHeartMedia the largest publisher of podcast content in the world.

About Imagine Entertainment

Founded in 1986 by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, Imagine Entertainment is an award-wining global entertainment company telling stories that inspire and empower, and create unforgettable entertainment experiences across all genres across Imagine Features, Imagine Television Studios, Imagine Documentaries, Imagine Kids+Family, and Imagine Brands as well as award-winning Jax Media and Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions. Imagine’s productions have been honored with more than 60 prestigious awards including 45 Academy Award nominations and 202 Emmy® award nominations. Past productions include the Academy Award Best Picture winner A Beautiful Mind, as well as Grammy Award Best Film winner The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years. Additional films include Get on Up, Rush, J. Edgar, Frost/Nixon, American Gangster, The Da Vinci Code, Apollo 13, 8 Mile, Liar, Liar, Backdraft and Parenthood to name a few. Recent films include tick, tick, …Boom! directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the critically acclaimed documentaries Rebuilding Paradise, Dads, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, D.Wade: Life Unexpected, and Pavarotti. Current film productions include Thirteen Lives directed by Ron Howard; a documentary on chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen; Curious George based on the beloved children’s character; and a re-imaging of the hit Imagine films Friday Night Lights and Fear. Current television projects include Genius: Aretha (NatGeo); Wu-Tang: An American Saga (Hulu); Swagger (Apple); Why Women Kill (CBS All Access); Supervillain: The Rise of Tekashi 6ix9ine (Showtime); the Crime Scene anthology docuseries (Netflix); Jax Media’s Emily in Paris (Netflix) and Jigsaw’s Tiger documentary (HBO). Additional television productions include Fox’s Empire, Shots Fired and the 24 franchise; NatGeo’s Genius anthology series; NBC’s Parenthood and Friday Night Lights; Fox’s and Netflix’s Arrested Development; The Astronauts (Nickelodeon); and HBO's From the Earth to the Moon, for which Howard and Grazer won the Emmy® for Outstanding Mini-Series. Grazer and Howard began their collaboration in the early 80’s with the hit comedies Night Shift and Splash, and continue to run Imagine Entertainment as executive chairmen.

About iHeartMedia, Inc.

iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month. It consists of three business groups.

With its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. Its leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 860 live broadcast stations in over 160 markets nationwide; its National Sales organization; and the company’s live and virtual events business. It also includes Premiere Networks, the industry’s largest Networks business, with its Total Traffic and Weather Network (TTWN); and BIN: Black Information Network, the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service for the Black community. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products using data from its massive consumer base.

The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the company’s fast-growing podcasting business -- iHeartMedia is the number one podcast publisher in downloads, unique listeners, revenue and earnings -- as well as its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital service, available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; its digital advertising technology companies; and its audio industry-leading social media footprint.

The company’s Audio & Media Services reportable segment includes Katz Media Group, the nation’s largest media representation company, and RCS, the world's leading provider of broadcast and webcast software.

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