U.S. ad spending on radio will increase 3.3% to $17.2 billion this year, up from $16.7 billion in 2019, according to a new forecast by ad agency giant GroupM. The long-term forecast shows radio revenue growing in even years and declining in odd years, due to the addition of election advertising and Olympics spending in even numbered years.
Radio is expected to grow slowly over the next five years, inching up from just north of $17.2 billion in 2020 to just shy of $18 billion in 2024. Here’s how GroupM charts radio’s revenue trajectory from 2020-2024. This year: +3.3% ($17.2 billion); 2021: -2.1% ($16.9 billion); 2022: +4.2% ($17.7 billion); 2023: -2.1% ($17.2 billion); 2024: +4.6% ($18.0 billion).
GroupM anticipates a similar up and down trend for TV, with mid-single digit gains in the even years offset by slightly higher declines in odd years. But while the long-term trend for radio is growth, GroupM sees TV ad dollars dipping modestly to $66.7 billion in 2024 from $68.2 billion in 2020.
The outlook remains grim for newspapers which are set to post double-digit declines every year in the forecast, with the biggest drops occurring in even years. GroupM sees a dramatic decline in the newspaper business, falling from $10.7 billion in 2020 to $6.6 billion in 2024. That’s a steady downward spiral from the $16.5 billion newspapers put on the books in 2017.
The story is similar for magazines, which are forecast to decline to $6.7 billion in 2020 from $10.9 billion this year.
Continuing a strong upward trajectory, the outdoor/cinema category is poised to increase sales by low single-digits in odd years and mid-to-upper single digits in even years, reaching $10.9 billion in 2024.
While internet ad revenues will continue to climb faster than for any other medium, that rate will decelerate in the coming years, subject to the ebb and flow of political and Olympics advertising. But the years of 20% or greater annual growth for digital are over, now that more than half of all ad dollars are already spent on the web. In 2020 internet ad dollars will jump 14.5% to $129.6 billion, GroupM says, accounting for 53% of total U.S. ad spending. But this year will mark the end of double-digit expansion. In 2021 digital growth will tamp down to 6.6%, before getting an even year boost to 9.2% in 2022, then 6.4% in 2023 and an 8.7% uptick in 2024 to $174.4 billion.
Total U.S. ad spending will tick up 8.1% to $246.7 billion in 2020 before seesawing their way to $281.1 billion in 2024.
The numbers are included in “2020 And Beyond,” a trend report published by AdAge, which looks at the year and decade ahead.
While the 2010s were all about the rapid ascent of digital media, analysts see a slowdown ahead. Although search, display and social media advertising are not going away, there are growing concerns about fraud, data privacy and effectiveness,” AdAge says in the report. Avi Dan, CEO of the Avidan Strategies consultancy, points to growing skepticism about digital—“because you can’t build a brand on that.” Factor in the changing TV landscape and AdAge says the door “is open at least a bit, for other media channels and marketing options in the coming decade.”
And Scott McDonald, President and CEO of the Advertising Research Federation, says in the AdAge report that audio advertising is “under-leveraged” by advertisers. Working in radio’s favor, he says, are explosive interest in podcasting and the opportunity to gain new listening occasions on smart speakers to the consistent presence of radio.