Radio’s Digital Ad Revenue Breaks $1 Billion

25% Ad Revenue Growth in 2019; Stations Focused on Digital Strategies

NEW YORK -- February 5, 2020 -- Radio’s digital ad revenue blasted through the billion-dollar plateau for the first time, now accounting for 10% of total advertising revenue for the industry, according to research released today by the Radio Advertising Bureau and ad-tracking firm Borrell Associates. 

Local radio stations grew revenues 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year, the report says. Digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising.

“As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast,” stated Erica Farber, RAB president and CEO. “This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.”

“The radio industry is carving out large chunks of the digital advertising pie from other print and broadcast competitors who also sell digital marketing to local businesses,” said Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates. “Our latest survey of radio managers shows that they have stronger and more positive attitudes toward digital media.  That’s a very good thing, because our survey of ad buyers also shows that radio’s most at-risk customers are the ones who aren’t being offered a digital package by their sales reps.”

The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster $1.3 million. The average revenue for the top 5 performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest.

The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.” It is being released today to RAB members. It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

Among the findings:

• 47% of radio buyers are planning to buy a new form of marketing; they are 66% more likely to be planning to purchase a new type of digital marketing
• Radio buyers who were not offered a digital package by their sales rep were 26% more likely to be thinking about cutting radio 
• 70% of stations are selling digital services, up from 62% last year; those that do reported the highest revenue growth
• 78% of station managers felt positive about their digital strategy, up from 72% last year
• The percentage of stations that produce podcasts (73%) remains steady, but stations are cutting back on the frequency and half still don’t sell advertising on their podcasts

The full report is available to RAB members on RAB.com: Click here.  A live webinar featuring the survey results presented by the RAB and Gordon Borrell is available for free to RAB members and survey participants.  To register for the webinars, click here.  

Press Inquiries: To receive an executive summary, please send an email to press@rab.com

About the Radio Advertising Bureau
The Radio Advertising Bureau is the not-for-profit trade association representing America's broadcast radio industry. Its primary objective is to drive revenue growth through advocacy, providing the tools and resources to help the industry attract new sales talent to the medium and enhance industry professionalism through training and support. The RAB serves more than 6,000 member stations in the U.S. and more than 1,000 member networks, representative firms, broadcast vendors, and international organizations. Learn more at www.rab.com

About Borrell Associates
Borrell tracks, analyzes, and forecasts local advertising for any U.S. or Canadian market. Hundreds of companies license Borrell’s data via its Compass product, seen at www.adspending.com. The firm publishes regular reports on trends in local advertising and each spring holds a local advertising conference in Miami, the largest gathering of local digital media executives in the country. The company was established in 2001 and is based in Williamsburg, Va.  More information can be found at www.borrellassociates.com or by calling 1-757-221-6641.

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