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CRA’s Joan Warner calls for modernisation of media laws as radio ad revenue growth slips

Commercial Radio Australia’s Chief executive, Joan Warner, is calling on the Government to pass the media reforms bill after annual radio advertising revenue growth declined for the first time since 2012.

According to the Metropolitan Commercial Radio Advertising Revenue for June, compiled by Deloitte, advertising revenue across the five metropolitan markets was down 0.21% to a total of $773.849m for the last twelve months.

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane’s ad spend revenue did not grow significantly from FY16, with Sydney up 0.81% to $240.334m, Melbourne up 0.27% to $238.201m and Brisbane up 0.02% to $121.501m.

Adelaide’s ad revenue fell 4.38% to $68.224m and Perth was down 1.02% to $105.588m.

Warner said the results were ‘patchy’ with Adelaide and Perth feeling the impact of slower economic growth.

“While radio is continuing to maintain a solid revenue base in comparison to other traditional media, the industry is feeling the impact of stifling regulation that was developed pre-internet. We need to modernise Australia’s outdated media laws to allow radio stations to compete on a level playing field for advertising dollars,” Warner said.

“Our radio stations are Australian owned and run, producing live, local news and entertainment. Our members employ thousands of people across the country and yet members of Parliament won’t pass media reform that would allow us to compete more effectively against multinational internet giants,” she said.

The comments come a month after media executives met in Canberra to show their support for the proposed media reforms package.

The latest proposed government package includes the removal of broadcasting license fees and data-casting charges, restrictions on gambling advertising during live sporting events, an amendment to the anti-siphoning scheme, repealing two of three media ownership rules, and an increase in funding for the broadcasting of women’s and niche sports.

While the media reforms bill passed in the House of Representatives, it currently sits in the Senate, with the fate of the bill in the hands of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon.

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