2009: A sub-$16 billion year.
The industry's third quarter revenue was $816 million less than one year ago, bringing year-to-date revenue to $11.8 billion. Based on current trends, it's unlikely the industry will top $16 billion in annual revenue this year. The Radio Advertising Bureau reports third quarter revenue was down 16%.
The RAB reports a drop in local (-19%), national (-17%) and network (-11%) dollars. A 14% gain in digital revenue helped offset the declines, but with internet billings representing just 3% of industry revenue, its total impact is limited. Yet the worst of the declines appear over. "As the quarter came to a close, it showed promise of an upswing in advertising spend by marketers," says RAB president/CEO Jeff Haley.
Telecom was third quarter's top advertising category, accounting for $338 million of the final tally. The key automotive segment was off 40% -- a smaller decline that in previous quarters due to "Cash for Clunkers" marketing. Restaurant spending was off 5% although several brands boosted their budgets, including Dunkin' Donuts and Taco Bell. Haley says, "We continue to see some advertisers aggressively increase their share of voice when compared to their higher spending competitors."
In the retail category it meant higher spending by such stores as JC Penny, which more than doubled its radio commitment compared to the third quarter a year ago. The health insurance debate also helped boost political spending in what would have been an otherwise quiet year in most markets. The Miller Kaplan data shows two-thirds of the quarter's issue advertising was focused on healthcare.