The past year or two have been pretty painful for radio. Between the flailing economy and the evolution of online/mobile technology, it’s been a pretty rough period. As a matter of fact, the last two years have been pretty well devoid of quarterly revenue growth. It has not been fun.
Now, according to Andrew Hampp at Advertising Age, the turnaround might just be here:
Double-digit increases in national and local spot buys among top marketing categories such as entertainment, financial services and automotive, as well as new spending from political and hospitality marketers, have put radio on track to finally post a quarterly gain again.
And several analysts peg radio to finish 2010 with year-end revenue that is flat or even 2% higher than last year, which would mean the industry’s first year-over-year gain since 2006.
It’s a great column; Andrew is usually good for that. It has a lot of substantiating info for these claims. Clear Channel, for instance, had already seen a 19% increase in bookings by January 7.
One thing he points out that I really like is the way broadcast radio enhances Internet-based efforts. Stepping away from the ways radio has extended itself on the web through streaming and social media, we can see that “traditional radio” has an impact here even without going online. The example he uses is a brand owned by the Starwood Hotels, Aloft.
Why did Starwood go with radio instead of something more Web 2.0? Hampp went to the top and found out.
“We thought radio was an interesting vehicle for us to really test what the performance would be, and we knew we would be able to execute it pretty quickly,” said Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s senior VP-specialty select brands.
A 67% jump in interactivity on their main site followed the first round of radio ads. Mr. McGuinness commented that this could only be attributable to having radio in their new ad mix. He also stated that he will be buying more radio time. See? Terrestrial can affect the Internet.
Mr. Hampp has a nice rundown on big brands returning to radio, new brands coming into the radio market, and a number of other influences that paint a more positive picture of radio’s future. I’d recommend giving it a once over, the trends noted are interesting. Of particular interest is the fact that some of the biggest increases in radio ad spending are coming from TV and movies studios.
Here’s to a better 2010, can’t wait to see the final numbers on the end of 2009!