Spot radio spending falls as 2013 ends
Off 3 percent during fourth quarter as political and auto fall
March 17, 2014
Spot radio ad spending took a small hit to end 2013, wrapping up a year where overall radio ad revenue was flat.
A decline in political ad spending in an off-election year, combined with a decrease in spending by automotive, took a toll on spot during fourth quarter, according to numbers out today from the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Spot radio spending, which accounts for about 80 percent of all radio ad revenue, fell 3 percent in fourth quarter, to $3.626 billion.
Total fourth-quarter radio advertising was flat at $4.6 billion, with network (up 7 percent), digital (up 18 percent) and off-air (up 11 percent) seeing gains that offset spot’s decline.
For the full year, spot was off 1 percent, to $14.054 billion.
Off-air, which includes things like advertiser-sponsored remote broadcasts, was up 5 percent for the year, to $1.584 billion, and digital was up 16 percent, to $889 million.
Network radio was also down for the full year, falling 4 percent, to $1.122 billion.
RAB said a large part of the spot declines were because of the lack of political advertising in 2013, which was not a presidential or congressional election year.
Though candidates and political action groups spend much more on television than radio, they typically ramp up radio buys in the fourth quarter to escape the political ad clutter on TV.
And in election years, radio also benefits from other advertisers getting bumped off of television during fourth quarter. Those bumped advertisers often move their money to radio.
Spot radio was also hurt last year by declines in automotive ad spending, the No. 1 radio category, off 1 percent during fourth quarter and 3 percent for full 2013.
The dips likely reflect the bigger ad push in 2012, when auto had a very strong year coming off the 2011 Japanese tsunami that impacted car sales.
Toyota Dealer Association, the No. 1 auto advertiser last year, cut spending by 7 percent for the full year.
And Honda Dealer Association cut back by a third in fourth quarter, though it still ranked as the No. 2 auto advertiser in the quarter.
While auto and political were down, a handful of ad categories did increase spending on radio last year, most notably communications.
Communications was up 18 percent over 2012 and ranked as the No. 2 category behind auto for the full year.
Four communications advertisers ranked in the top 10 for the year, including AT&T, the No. 1 spender, up 63 percent over 2012.
T-Mobile (up 29 percent), Sprint (up 91 percent) and Tracfone Wireless (up 41 percent) also saw notable increases for the full year.
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