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RAB: Radio Revenue Up 1% in 2012

Q4 push by advertisers, especially political, cited for growth

Text has been updated to reflect the omission of network revenue in the RAB report.

Radio’s revenue for 2012 was up 1% over 2011, at $16.4 billion, reported the Radio Advertising Bureau.

(Network radio results have not been included in recent RAB revenue reports because the accounting firm that puts them together does not have enough data from that space; thus the overall reported total for 2012 of $16.4 billion appears less than last year, when network figures were still included.)

Fourth quarter revenue was up 4% over 2011, to $4.3 billion, according to RAB, which called that result the “highest growth recorded over the past eight quarters.”

“The resurgent automotive industry and the closely-contested presidential political race provided the main impetus for 2012’s positive spot performance,” stated RAB’s President/CEO Erica Farber. “Our medium also enjoyed strong increases in Q4 spending by advertisers in the key communications and financial services categories.”

Radio’s top five advertising categories based on 2012 expenditures (not by percent of total radio revenue) are: automotive at 29%, TV/networks/cable, communications and restaurants — all at 18% and financial, with 17%. 

Digital spending was up 11% in Q4 and with an 8% edge over 2011 full year. Farber says the results highlight that radio is finding more ways to monetize streaming and that advertisers are taking advantage of new platforms to reach listeners.