Americans might be listening to more radio, but radio’s advertising revenues aren’t going anywhere, at least for the time being. In Q1, total expenditures were flat, at $3.5 billion, according to [pdf] the latest revenue report from the Radio Advertising Bureau, which excludes network radio data due to incomplete information. Healthy growth in digital (9%) and off-air (5%) helped offset a sluggish quarter for spot, which was down 2% from Q1 2012. While remaining the smallest segment, at $179 million in revenues, digital’s growth means that it now exceeds 5% share of total radio revenues.
Spot’s slight dip in Q1 didn’t mean that some sectors didn’t invest heavily. In fact, spot spending by the communications and cellular sector grew by 36% year-over-year, vaulting it into the position of top-spending category. The 36% rise was fueled by a 122% spending hike by AT&T and a more than 1300-fold increase by Sprint.
Radio needed that boost to break even in Q1, because automotive, a traditional spending powerhouse, hit the brakes to the tune of a 20% decline in spend, moving that sector back to the third spot. The second-largest spending category, TV/networks/cable providers and the fourth-largest category, restaurants, both cut back slightly, by 3% and 2%, respectively.
The top 5 advertisers on radio for the quarter were: Comcast XFinity Cable Service (up 15%); AT&T; McDonald’s (down 2%); Sprint; and GEICO (up 23%).
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 LLP and extrapolated to the entire US. Digital Revenue is comprised from activity generated by websites, internet/web streaming and HD Radio including HD2 and HD3 stations.
The lineup of markets/stations may vary from year to year. Percent change is calculated on revenue adjusted to current year reporting.
The Radio industry revenues for the First Quarter 2013 do not include Network Radio data. Complete Network revenue information for the quarter is not available. In order for Miller Kaplan to provide a meaningful report, there must be a voluntary cooperative representing a minimum of 90% of total market revenues. Having not reached that threshold in the Radio Network space for 2013, Miller Kaplan is unable to issue Radio Network market revenue reports.