Radio Sales Edge Up in Q3

RAB says overall year is tracking 2012
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One percentage point might not sound like much, but it’s the best quarterly performance for U.S. commercial radio this year compared to the same quarters a year earlier.

The Radio Advertising Bureau says overall industry revenue was up by that single digit, and that “year-to-date performance remains on par with 2012,” when radio finished the year at $16.48 billion.

“The third quarter uptick was based on a 1% gain in the spot sector, which represents the largest portion of radio’s revenue base,” RAB reported. “Digital continues to show robust gains — up nearly 1/5 — while off-air was up 3%. Network posted a decline of 11% against last year’s sales.”

For the year, spot revenue is flat; digital, off-air and network are +15%, +3% and –7% respectively.

“Digital continues its reign as radio’s fastest growing sector. Off-air activity also remains steadfast, increasing every quarter in 2013. Combined, digital and off-air represent 13% of radio’s total revenue.”

RAB President/CEO Erica Farber also released a list of top advertiser categories, “led by Communications/Cellular with a healthy 24% increase.” She said Automotive, Professional Services, Health Care and Home Furnishings showed “substantial increases.” Automotive regained the top category ranking in Q3 but communications “remains as a strong #2.”