Revenue Tracker: December, A flat end to 2011.
Exclusive: In what may prove to be a symbolic end to 2011, industry revenue held steady with the prior year in December. That’s according to a sample of 94 markets surveyed by Inside Radio. The flat finish for the month was an improvement over November’s 2% decline and October’s 4% drop.
Several markets reported holiday retail advertising came in lighter than expected compared to what was spent a year earlier. The same was true for year-end automotive clearance advertising. While there were a handful of exceptions, those two categories alone could have taken the wind out of the sails of gains made with other advertisers. Recent news reports of a slowly improving economy also haven’t helped much on Main Street. “Housing is stalled and there’s no job growth, so advertisers are hanging onto dollars for reserve against projections this area is still 18 to 24 months away from seeing meaningful improvement,” a Florida station manager says.
Several others echoed that theme. Among top 50 markets nearly the same number of markets was up as were down. Markets that showed an increase were up by an average of 5.6% and those that were down averaged a decrease of 7%. Looking at those markets collectively, the average among all the top 50 markets surveyed was a decrease of 1%. Mid-sized markets had similar results. But more small markets were up than down — with a wider variance in results as those markets that showed an increase were up an average of 18% compared to a decline of 6% in those markets that lost ground. Looking at all small markets, total revenue was up 2% in December.
The Radio Advertising Bureau will release official year-end revenue data next month.