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US spot radio revenues edged up 1% year-over-year to reach $3.76 billion in Q2, per a September 2012 report [pdf] from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). Off-air revenues grew more rapidly, increasing by 4%, though digital was the fastest-growing segment for the first half (H1) of 2012, up by 7%. (The report excludes network radio data for Q2 as the cooperating threshold representing 90% of revenues was not reached.)

Despite digital’s above-average growth, the segment accounted for just 4.5% of combined spot, digital, and off-air revenues in H1. Spot revenue, which made up 86% of combined revenues for those 3 segments, was flat year-over-year in H1.

Healthcare, Automotive Spend Jumps in Q2

Advertisers in several verticals increased their spending by a considerable amount year-over-year in Q2. Leading the pack were healthcare and automotive, up 23% and 17%, respectively. Home furnishing (+10%) and insurance (+10%) advertisers also showed solid growth in spend, as did advertisers in the concerts/theater/movies (+9%) and professional services (+4%) verticals.

For H1 overall, home furnishings (+17%) and health (+16%) posted the most rapid growth, followed by automotive (+9%), specialty retail (+5%), insurance (+4%), grocery (+2%), and casinos/lottery (+1%).

7 of Top 10 Advertisers Increase Spending in Q2

Many of the top spenders on radio appear to value the returns from their advertising efforts, and increased their radio budgets over Q2 2011 comps. The top 5 advertisers for Q2 were:

  • Comcast XFinity Cable Systems (-1%)
  • McDonald’s (+2%)
  • Coca-Cola (+37%)
  • AT&T (-22%)
  • PepsiCo (+26%)

T-Mobile (#7) posted the biggest year-over-year increase in spending, of 125%, with Toyota Dealer Association (#9) also seeing impressive spending growth of 76%.

Political Advertising Dollars Keep Pouring In

Further details from the RAB report indicate that within the Miller Kaplan X Ray markets, political ad spending totaled $15.2 million in Q2, more than double Q1’s $6.9 million. For the first half overall, political ad spending (which includes spending from candidates, issues, and PACs) reached $22.5 million. PACs and other coalitions represented the lion’s share of spending in Q2 (56%), followed by candidate spending (35% share).

A March 2012 report from Borrell & Associates predicted that radio would account for 8.3% of total political ad spending this year.

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