Radio revenue hits the black in Q1 2011


Spot revenue, the bread-and-butter category for radio, was up a very modest 1% to just over $3B in the first quarter of 2011 according to the latest Radio Advertising Bureau/Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co. figures, but it marked the fifth consecutive quarter of positive comps for the recovering radio business, and gains in digital and off-air income propelled to quarter to a total revenue gain of 3% year-over-year.

The revenue components that contributed to the gain are as follows: Spot was up 1% as noted to $3.026B; network was flat at $260M; digital pulled in $149M, a gain of 21%; and off-air was up 9% to $312M. The resulting bottom line is a 3% gain to $3.783B.

RAB President/CEO Jeff Haley commented, “The consistent ad spending increases from advertisers in Radio’s top 5 categories are significant. This growth, indicative of confidence in Radio’s platforms, is echoed across multiple categories and leading marketers like Communications giant AT & T, Quick Service Restaurant leader McDonalds and Supermarket titan Safeway. The double-digit gain in Radio’s Digital sector reflects advertisers’ growing interest in tapping the power of exciting interactive capabilities in providing a return path to enhance product and brand promotion and increase sales” stated Haley.

RAB listed radios big spenders, including the top five categories:

1. Communications/Cellular: $338M

2. Auto Dealers/Dealer Groups/Manufacturers: $333M

3. Television/Networks/Cable Providers: $295M

4. Restaurants: $262M

5. Financial Services: $212M

…and the top ten companies:

1. AT&T – $122M

2. McDonald’s – $85M

3. Comcast Cable –$84M

4. Safeway – $65M

5. Verizon Wireless – $54M

6. Chrysler LLC – $47M

7. MetroPCS – $46M

8. GEICO – $45M

9. Toyota Dealer Association – $38M

10. Fox Television Network – $38M

Three important categories increased their spending with radio by 20% or more, including automotive (27% to $333M), casinos/lotteries (22% to $102M) and insurance companies (20% to $185M).

Looking deeper into automotive, Chrysler dealers/corporate increased radio spending 73% to $58.6M; Toyota increased 78% to $52.4M; Honda increased 27% to $22.3M and Hyundai increase steeply — 390% to  $20.6M.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s hard to get overly excited when using black ink over a particularly easy set of comparables, but we DO actually get excited when we think about how in the recent past our business would go up against a set of easy comps and tunnel underneath them into the red ink zone. Lets keep the black ink flowing and try to pick up the pace.