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rabradioleadingcategories585.jpgRadio posted its third consecutive Q1 increase in 2012 with a 1% rise to $3.814B. Surges in Digital (+10%) and Network (+8%) and a significant increase in Off-Air (+3%) combined with a stable Spot sector, led to the positive results, according to [pdf] a report by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). Q1 2012 results confirm that radio commands a solid position in brands’ total marketing plans, stated Erica Farber, RAB President and CEO. “While advertisers continue to capitalize on Radio’s Spot and Network efficiencies, they’re increasingly utilizing local digital capabilities and audience engagement that this medium affords.”

Growth from a diverse group of categories and advertisers contributed to the Q1 increases. Radio continues to benefit from new advertisers beyond the traditional top tier, said Farber. “Advertisers using radio to sell products and promote program tune-in have consistently enhanced their radio presence. These increases confirm radio’s ability to drive sales and brand awareness.”

The top ten Spot Radio advertisers for Q1 2012 in order:
1.?? ?Comcast Xfinity Cable – $89.7M
2.?? ?McDonald’s – $87.6M
3.?? ?Safeway – $59.3M
4.?? ?Verizon Wireless – $48.5M
5.?? ?GEICO – $46M
6.?? ?AT&T – $45.5M
7.?? ?T-Mobile – $42.2M
8.?? ?Toyota Dealer Association – $41.7M
9.?? ?Fox TV Network – $39.6M
10.?? ?Honda Dealer Association – $32M

2012 Growth Leaders Analysis

RAB analyzed spot radio advertising based on data from Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. X-Ray Market Reports.

Advertisers in the rebounding automotive, supermarket, home furnishings and retail categories–aided by the gaming industry–provided boosts to radio’s Q1 2012 spot comps.

Automobile sales are tracking toward a very good year in 2012, and manufacturers and dealers are using radio to help make this happen. Radio’s automotive spot revenue grew 1% in Q1 2012, building on the 27% rebound posted for the same period last year.

Radio bagged an additional 11% from Spot advertisers in the Grocery category in Q1 and the $192.5M expenditure moves them from 7th overall in Q1 2011 to #5 this quarter.

Continuing an upward trend from year-end 2011, the casinos and lottery category grew 7% in Q1 2012. State Lotteries continues to be a positive influence within the category (accounting for 59% of the total) and was up over a half-million dollars (+1%) but Casinos & Hotels is the driving force.

Ranked at #10, the home furnishings category has experienced its fifth consecutive quarter of growth with a 30% increase over Q1 2011 – up $26.5M.

Increased spot radio activity from various health care and service providers injected the quarter with 39% growth over Q1 2011 to $64.5M.

Finally–political ads. While benefitting from activity in hotly contested markets, radio saw only the tip of the iceberg in Q1 2012. Within the Miller Kaplan markets political spending from candidates, Issues, political action committees (PACs), etc., totaled $6.9M for the quarter. Over half (55%, $3.7M) of these dollars were driven by PACs and various coalitions. The pro-Gingrich Super PAC, Winning our Future, topped the charts with $724K, followed by pro-Romney Super PAC, Restore Our Future, with $538K.

Spending from various candidates accounted for 32% of the political dollars ($2.2M). Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential candidate, and his committee, Romney for President, placed over $363K in the quarter – accounting for 16% of the subcategory.
The Radio Advertising Bureau serves more than 6,000 member Radio stations in the U.S. and over 1,000 member networks, representative firms, broadcast vendors, and international organizations

About the Data: Spot Radio, Digital and Off-Air revenues are based on a pool of more than 100 markets as reported by the accounting firm of Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co., and extrapolated to the entire U.S. Digital Revenue is comprised from activity generated by websites, Internet/web streaming and HD Radio including HD2 and HD3 stations. Network Revenue includes the top five radio network companies. Revenue data has been randomly verified since 2002. Percent change is calculated on revenue adjusted to current year reporting.

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