Radio ad sales sing in Italy

Trend is opposite that of TV, print

ROME -- Italian advertisers are tuning in to their radios, as the medium appears to be one of the winners in the economic crisis gripping the boot-shaped peninsula along with the rest of the world.

While television and print ad buys have slumped, monitoring company FCP-Assoradio reported Tuesday that radio ad sales were up 4.5% over the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2007, totaling 297.6 million euros ($383.9 million).

The trend picked up steam as the year went on. September ad sales were 9.7% higher than in the previous year.

If the trend holds, it will be the first time radio ad sales have grown year-over-year in Italy since 2004-05.

FCP-Assoradio said that radio broadcasters are benefiting from companies that want to keep their name in front of the public but are trying to save money by spending less on television or print ads.

The slump in TV advertising in Italy has been particularly pronounced. Though overall figures for the sector have not been released, slowing ad sales are among the factors punishing the share price for broadcast giant Mediaset.

State broadcaster RAI said in October that it expected to fall as much as 40 million euros ($51.6 million) short of its target, due mostly to slow ad sales.
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