Though off-air online and experiential advertising grew modestly as a part of the overall radio revenue pie and election-related political ads increased in Q3, total radio ad revenues were down 9% to $4.97 billion for Q3 and down 10% for the month of October, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).
For the first nine months of 2008, total radio advertising revenues were $14.8 billion, down 7% compared with the same period in 2007.
Q3 losses continue to be fueled by big declines in local and national advertising. Local for the quarter was $3.46 billion, down 10%. For the first nine months of 2008, local was down 8% to $10.44.
National advertising for Q3 was $767 million, down 12%, and $2.2 billion for the first nine months of 2008, down 11%. For the month of October, local fell 15%, while national performed better – down just 1%.
“A weakening economy will continue to be a challenge for all forms of advertising-supported media,” said David Silverman, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Off-Air Lone Bright Spot
Off-air, which includes internet revenues, was the only sector to post an increase in Q3, rising 5% to $458 million. This growth is – to a small extent – offsetting larger declines in local and national revenues. Overall off-air revenues have grown 9% in the first nine months of 2008 compared with the same period of 2007, though they still make up a relatively small percentage of the overall radio ad mix.
Spending By Category
With their own bottom lines reduced, most marketers curtailed spending across media, including radio, RAB said. Network radio did, however, see consistency from Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and General Motors Corporate (including its divisions). Wal-Mart was the retail sector’s top-spending advertiser with nearly $42.7 million invested through Q3.
Radio also experienced growth in several key industry categories, particularly insurance and restaurants, in the local and national sectors.
Retail Department/Discount Stores & Shopping Centers:
Politics Proved Beneficial
The extended political season for the 2008 Presidential race also proved fortuitous to radio. In the 35 markets that report advertiser detail to Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co., campaigns on local and national radio carried $20.6 million of messages in Q3. This spending increased the year-to-date tally to $54.9 million and offset the drops among many of radio’s leading spenders. Network radio also carried $6.2 million worth ofpolitical ads in Q3, and $13.8 million year-to-date according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Additional political spending details:
In a comparison of local an national Q3 and year-to-date 2008 political spending in the Miller Kaplan markets with the last presidential election year of 2004:
Also in the local and national sectors, issue-focused 527 groups were the largest spenders. infusing more than $2.7 million dollars, pushing year-to-date spending over $7.8 million in the 35 Miller Kaplan reporting markets:
About the data: Local and national revenues are based on approximately 100 markets as reported by the accounting firm of Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. and extrapolated to the entire US. Off-Air data has been collected and verified since January of 2002, and reported since September of 2004. The RAB began reporting quarterly radio revenue in dollar amounts with the 2007 results. Network revenue includes the top five radio network companies. Non-spot data has been collected and verified since January of 2002, and reported since September of 2004.
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