Kantar study: U.S. radio ad spending grows, defying overall downward trend

Kantar Media radio ad sales Q2 2015

Kantar Media collected data about U.S. ad expenditures, which posted a decline of 3.9% in the second quarter of 2015 for a total spend of $38 billion. The first half also had a drop of 3.9%. Almost every big sector – including television, magazine, and newspaper – saw declines in spend.

Radio was one of the only categories to report an increase in ad spend for the period, with an overall 5% growth in ad spending on-year for the second quarter across the 36 markets monitored by Kantar, which represent just under half of the U.S. population. The first half of 2015 saw 3.4% growth for the medium. Local radio ad spending for the quarter rose 10.6% in Kantar’s covered markets.  Network radio saw a quarterly drop of 8.4%, while national spot radio increased 1.2%. The radio spending data only reflect commercial spot sales.

Kantar put an interesting note in the rise of radio spending, saying it “includes the impact of a nearly two percent increase in ad time” — adding commercials has benefited the aggregate bottom line in Kantar’s test markets. Ad load is a key differentiator that separates terrestrial from Internet radio, which runs fewer ads and provides a less interrupted user experience.

Anna Washenko