Radio Revenues Grew By 4% in Q4, 1% in 2012 Overall

February 18, 2013

RAB-Radio-Revenues-Q4-2012-Feb2013Radio revenues edged up 1% in 2012, finishing the year at $16.5 billion, and marking the 3rd consecutive year of growth, according to [pdf] a report from the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The overall result was buoyed by a 4% year-over-year rise in Q4, the highest growth in the past 8 quarters. Digital continued to record the most rapid growth (11% in Q4; 4% full-year), while spot revenues were up 4% for the quarter and 1% for the year.

Although off-air revenues declined slightly in Q4, they were up by 1% overall for the year.

Auto Remains Easily the Biggest Spender

The automotive category was the largest spender again in 2012, accounting for 29% share of spending by the top 5 ad categories, up from 26% in 2011. After that, the communications, restaurants, and TV/networks/cable categories all took an 18% share of spending by the top 5, with the financial category accounting for 17%.

The home furnishings/floor coverings (+9%), auto dealers/dealer groups/manufacturers (+8%), and healthcare (+7%) categories posted the largest gains on a year-over-year basis. Last year’s fastest riser, the insurance category, cut spending by 11% this year. A recent report [download page] from MarketingCharts delves into the media weights employed by leading personal lines insurance (auto and homeowner) carriers and the strategies behind them.

Other Findings:

  • Political ad spending reached $124.1 million in the markets analyzed, up 15% from 2008.
  • Political spending ramped up significantly in the latter part of the year, with Q4 outlays 61% higher than Q1-Q3 combined.
  • Comcast XFinity Cable Service held the mantle as the top-spending advertiser in Q4 and in 2012 overall. T-Mobile was next in terms of 2012 spending, followed by McDonald’s, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T.

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.

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