Radio Turning Corner in Digital Sales
     

Online radio ad revenues are turning a corner.

That’s according to a study of local radio station online revenues conducted by Borrell Associates on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau.

The radio industry as a whole grew its online ad revenues 22% last year, outpacing the 20% overall increase in local online ad expenditures. That was enough to achieve a share increase of two-tenths of a point, to 2.0%.

Overall, radio sellers closed $370.7 million in local online advertising last year. Borrell expects the number to pass $420 million this year as many radio groups intensify their digital sales efforts. In a survey of 1,075 radio stations administered in January as part of the report, 17% said they expect growth of 30% or more this year.

The growth signaled a boost for the radio industry, which has lost digital advertising market share for three years against aggressive sales from newspaper, TV, yellow pages and Internet pure play competitors. Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell said, “In terms of digital advertising, radio has been in a come-from-behind position for years. But it looks like quite a few groups are breaking out and even challenging their newspaper and TV competitors for a slice of that very large digital pie.”

Stations are diverting their focus from banner advertising and branching out to sell other, more popular formats like email advertising, paid search and video ads. While banner ads were the largest single source of revenue for 32% of the stations who participated in the survey, the number dropped to 22% for 2013.

The report is based on Borrell’s annual industry survey on 6,200 local online operations, including 2,000 radio stations in 527 clusters. This report analyzes data derived from three principal sources: media ad revenue, local business ad spending, and a radio manager survey asking questions about digital revenue resources, sales methods, expenses and other digital operations.

The full study is available to RAB members on RAB.com. The RAB and Gordon Borrell will present a free webinar featuring the study results on March 7.

 


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