Broadcast radio’s digital revenue breaks $1 billion in RAB 2015 survey

RAB 2015 report

The Radio Advertising Bureau released its 2015 results, revealing digital revenue surpassing $1 billion for the first time. Digital revenue rose 5% from $973 million to nearly $1.02 billion over the course of last year. Off-air revenue, which includes sources such as events, sponsorships, or display ads on radio websites, also continued its growth for another year. After a 16% rise in 2014, the 2015 figure rose another 11% to more than $2.04 billion. The off-air component alone accounted for almost 12% of total revenue. Combined with digital, the pair generated a fifth of the bottom line for radio in 2015.

“More and more advertisers are extending the unmatched reach of broadcast radio by taking advantage of radio’s off-air and digital options,” RAB President and CEO Erica Farber said. “By using radio stations’ digital and off-air platforms, advertisers are extending the scope and reach of their messaging – and because more and more consumers are enjoying experiential events or spending time on devices, off-air opportunities can build on the strength of broadcast radio and provide the ability to reach them effectively and efficiently.”

On the other hand, spot revenue declined 3% from $13.6 billion in 2014 to $13.23 billion in 2015. The top industries for spot advertising were the same as in 2014, led by auto dealers and manufacturers, and followed by communications, financial services, health care, and professional services.

All those fluctuations yielded an overall revenue decline of just 1%. After posting revenue of $17.5 billion in 2014, the group reported 2015 revenue of $17.37 billion. Despite the slight decline, Farber remained positive on the outlook for radio advertising revenue. “It’s clear that advertisers’ commitment to radio remains consistent,” she said. “They will find money to try out shiny new vehicles, but they continue to rely on radio’s core ability to reach huge numbers of consumers and motivate them to buy products and services.”

Anna Washenko