iHeartMedia will integrate its digital radio and on-demand streaming products into Layer3 TV's television service, Billboard has learned. The new partnership will go live today, with iHeart included as an app within Layer3's "homepage environment," which will place it alongside the television service's extensive list of cable, on-demand and live-stream channels.
iHeart's integration into Layer3 arrives after prior integrations with Facebook and YouTube as the Denver-based cable company moves further towards its stated goal of "spearheading a new era of home media."
"Both the breadth of content and the quality of the audio has always been substandard in the cable space, and it's only been recently that you've had much broader surround sound integrations in the home," says Layer3 TV CEO Jeff Binder. "So the TV ends up being the home theater, and the idea that you can switch directly from TV to music or from music to TV at a single control and delivery point from an audio perspective, it just simplifies the amount of devices in the home."
Binder says that the app will initially be set up to encourage users to browse iHeart's channels or launch an artist radio channel easily, and save favorites as pre-sets for quick navigation. But the company is also connected to Amazon's Alexa and Google's Google Home voice activation abilities -- even if users don't have an Amazon Echo or Dot, for instance -- and Binder says he expects to incorporate that functionality into iHeart's integration fairly soon.
For iHeart, which recently entered the increasingly-competitive on-demand audio space with its Plus and All Access subscription options, the partnership adds another outlet for its listeners to use to stream its catalog. "It’s our goal to make sure listeners have access to iHeartRadio everywhere they are, 24/7," iHeart executive vp business development and partnerships Jessica Jerrick said in a statement provided to Billboard. "This integration is yet another example of giving our listeners access to all their favorite music, radio personalities and stations on the products and services they use most."
Binder sees the integration as a first step towards adding more music functionality into Layer3's set top boxes with more partnerships likely moving forward -- and sees it as a significant part of what Layer3 can offer. "We think music is going to be 15 percent of how the platform's used, so it's a major piece of what we're putting in the home," he says. "We're just getting started with some of the things we're doing with [iHeart], and we expect to continue to innovate."