Back to growth in August.
Exclusive: Following the biggest drop in industry revenue since 2009, radio came back with its best showing in six months in August. Revenue grew 3% compared to one year ago according to analyst Jim Boyle, who collected data from a sample of 53 markets for Inside Radio’s Revenue Tracker.
Boyle’s sources say business got much better in mid- to late-August once the debt ceiling debate in Washington quieted. “Once that was solved, some of that money that was apparently held back on the sidelines came back into play,” Boyle says. What remains to be seen is whether it was just dollars shifting from July to August, or if advertisers added to their radio budgets. That will become clearer when the current month’s data rolls in. “Most people thought their September was not going to be as strong as their August,” Boyle says. The average big market was up 4% last month, while mid-markets were up just under 2% and small markets were flat. Boyle says the biggest variable was how much each segment grew last year with small markets facing the toughest comp of all.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, advertisers returning to last-minute buying have made it tough to peg how things will develop. Boyle says he sensed “nervousness” from lots of people who he spoke with because so much business hasn’t been placed yet. Year-over-year comps will become an even bigger story as stations cycle into comparisons to last year’s political advertising spending. Because of the political comps, Boyle thinks fourth quarter may be down versus a year ago — but depending on the size of that decline radio could finish 2012 with a positive growth number on the board.
Read the full Inside Radio Revenue Tracker report HERE.