Radio Revenues to Steadily Rise, Fueled by Online Surge

biakelsey-radio-indus-advertising-revenue-2006-2016-apr2012.jpgOver-the-air (OTA) local radio station revenues were relatively flat at $14.1 billion in 2011, up just 0.4% from a year earlier, but are predicted to increase at a faster rate in the next 5 years, says BIA/Kelsey in an April 2012 forecast. Much of this growth will be driven by online revenues, which increased 15.1% in 2011 to reach $439 million. Overall, radio industry revenue is predicted to reach $14.5 billion this year, up 3.5% from last year, and to hit $17 billion in 2016, representing a 21% increase over 2011′s results. Online revenue is forecast to rise a healthier 16% this year to $510 million, and 75% overall between 2011 and 2016 ($770 million).

February 2012 figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau showed similarly fractional growth in 2011: according to that report, radio revenues finished the year at $17.4 billion, up about 0.6% from $17.3 billion in 2010.

Online Radio Displays Wide Reach

Data from an Arbitron and Edison Research report [download page] released in April 2012 gives a good indication of why online radio revenues are expected to increase so quickly. According to those survey results, 39% of the US population aged 12 or older have listened to online radio in the last month, up 15% from 34% in 2011, and 44% from 27% in 2010. The proportion of the population that has listened to online radio in the past week also jumped this year, growing 32% from 22% in 2011 to 29% this year.

Online Radio Audience Listening More

Not only are more Americans tuning into online radio, but they’re also spending more time listening. Among weekly online radio listeners, the self-reported average time spent per week with all sources of online radio this year is 9 hours and 46 minutes, up from 9 hours and 17 minutes a year ago, and from just over 8 hours in 2010. This is also about 50% more time than these listeners spent with online radio in 2009 (6 hours and 13 minutes), and more than double the time that weekly online video users spend watching online video (4 hours and 20 minutes).

Other Findings:

  • The vast majority (87%) of weekly online radio listeners also reported having listened to OTA radio in the past week.
  • 17% of cell phone owners said they have ever listened to online radio in a car by listening to the stream from a cell phone connected to a car stereo. This is up from 11% last year, and is almost triple the 6% who responded that way two years ago.
  • Those listening to a radio at work are most likely to tune in to radio stations on a regular radio (68%), while close to one-third will listen to stations on their computer over the internet (18%) or on a mobile device such as a smartphone (13%).

About the Data: The Arbitron and Edison Research findings are based on a national telephone survey conducted in both English and Spanish language (landline and cell phone) of 2,020 people aged 12 and older, in January and February 2012.