Radio Industry Revenue Rises 2% in Third Quarter

“The positive growth we’ve seen over the twenty-one month period is unprecedented since the late 1990s," Radio Advertising Bureau president and CEO Jeff Haley says as data shows movie and other entertainment firms have spent more on radio in the first nine months of 2011.

NEW YORK - The radio industry saw revenue increase 2 percent in the third quarter to more than $4.5 billion, marking seven consecutive quarters of growth, the Radio Advertising Bureau said Friday.

Growth momentum increased from a 1 percent gain in the second quarter. Revenue for the first nine months of 2011 is also up 2 percent to nearly $12.9 billion, with movie and other entertainment companies spending 4 percent more through September, its data shows.

After three years of declines, the radio industry returned to revenue growth last year – with a 6 percent gain - as rebounding automakers and elections boosted momentum.

“The positive growth we’ve seen over the twenty-one month period is unprecedented since the late 1990s," said RAB president and CEO Jeff Haley. "Once again, this underscores radio’s strength during these unusual economic times."
Spot ad revenue was flat in the quarter, while network spending grew 2 percent, and digital once again posted the largest increase for the quarter at 17 percent. “Advertisers’ expanding use of digital and off-air platforms to complement their sustaining broadcast commitment strengthens radio’s current and long term viability,” Haley said.

Among those spending more on spot radio adds in the third quarter were insurance companies, whose spending jumped 48 percent, home furnishings firms, up 29 percent, and restaurants, including such fast-food chains as McDonald's and Burger King, which were up 15 percent. The RAB said this data is based on a sample of 35 markets monitored by Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.

The data also shows a 1 percent gain in radio spending by the concerts/theaters/movies sector, which ended the first nine months of 2011 up 4 percent at $405.6 million.

The RAB reported third-quarter increases by such movie companies as Lionsgate, which the group said spent $2.3 million more than last year to reach $8.7 million, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers. "New distributor FilmDistrict placed $6 million in new radio money in the third quarter," its report said. Overall, the movie industry accounted for $91.8 million in radio spending in the third quarter.

Quarterly political spending hit $3.4 million, bringing the spend for the first nine months to $13.1 million, according to the RAB.

"While campaign dollars are expected to hit an all-time high in the next election cycle, candidates seem to just be warming up for the races with $440,000 for the quarter and $1.7 million year-to-date," it said.


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