Radio ad revenue up in August but figures deliver “no great surprise”

Commercial radio advertising has continued to rise in August, despite ongoing lockdowns in Australia’s two largest cities, with figures up 16.8% on August 2020.

The figures released by industry body, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), show total revenue of $49.7 million across the five major markets, compared to $42.5 last year.

CRA chief executive, Joan Warner said that with continuing lockdowns, it is encouraging to see ad revenue remaining in “positive territory year-on-year”.

“Melbourne stations for example, re-entered their sixth lockdown in August since the pandemic began, and reported a solid 33% year-on-year increase in ad revenue to $16.421 million in that month,” she said.

Sydney stations reported a 4.5% year-on-year increase to $13.4 million for the month, with Brisbane up 14.5% to $8.02 million, Perth up 13.8% to $6.98 million and Adelaide increasing 13.2% to $4.87 million.

Commenting on the figures for August, Ben Willee, general manager and media director at Spinach said: “Early on in the pandemic, there was a lot of chatter about the radio ad revenue and impact of a reduction in commuters. Most of this chatter was incorrect. Independent research tells us people are still consuming audio but in different ways. Streaming, podcasts, smart devices, the list goes on.”

Spinach’s Ben Willee

“It’s no great surprise that commercial radio ad revenue is up. Smart advertisers understand that audio can be a very effective medium and are adjusting their strategies and tactics to reflect the change in consumption patterns.”

The figures provided include agency and direct ad revenue and are compiled by media data analytics company Milton Data, which took over responsibility for industry revenue reporting from Deloitte from 1 July 2021.

Last week, CRA announced that it will adopt a new, hybrid methodology when it comes to measuring radio audiences, with a reliance on paper diaries finally coming to an end. Warner, along with GfK’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Dr Morton Boyer joined Mumbrella’s Zanda Wilson on the Mumbrellacast following the news to discuss the changes. 


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