Commercial radio ad revenue falls 12.4% in March quarter

Advertising revenue for the March quarter fell by 12.4% in the commercial radio industry, according to new data from Deloitte.

The figures, released by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), show the metropolitan commercial radio stations saw revenue fall from $182.025m to $159.404m.

Commercial radio revenue is falling, but CRA boss Joan Warner says the worst is yet to come

Sydney took the biggest hit in the figures – the market saw its revenue fall 16.4% to $47.360m. Melbourne fell 11.3% to $52.220m, while Perth dropped 14.5% to $19.819m.

Brisbane and Adelaide also fell, dropping 8.3% and 6.5% respectively. Revenue in Brisbane was $25.321m and Adelaide $14.684m.

CEO of CRA Joan Warner said the worst is still to come for the industry in the coronavirus (COVID-19) downturn.

“Radio is usually resilient in downturns but the coronavirus has had a bigger initial impact than the GFC. The real and full effect of business closures on revenue won’t be known until the June quarter,” Warner said.

The spend dropped across a number of categories including live entertainment, motor vehicles, restaurants and property. Warner said the industry is doing its best to stay relevant in a tough market.

Consumers may be turning to radio, but revenue is down 

“Radio has evolved to stay competitive, but these results have magnified the issues facing free-to-air broadcasters. We’re now competing for ad revenue with global tech giants that do not operate under the same rules and regulations as we do, and this needs to be addressed quickly by regulators,” she said.

Commercial radio revenue was already struggling before the pandemic. The industry reported a 6.1% drop across 2019 after a “challenging year”.

The Deloitte figures show ad revenue over the nine months of the financial year to date totalled $528.943m, an 11% decline over the same period a year ago.

CRA is one of the bodies currently lobbying the government for legislative changes and support during the pandemic, stating help is needed to keep the industry viable through the downturn.


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