Despite an influx of political advertising dollars, radio revenues were flat in the third quarter of 2012, treading water at $4.24 billion, according to the latest figures from the Radio Advertising Bureau.
These mediocre results bode ill for next year, when broadcasters will not have the benefit of hotly contested political races to shore up
their bottom line.
Spot revenues were flat in the third quarter at about $3.65 billion, as were off-air revenues, at $388 million. Digital revenues edged up 8% to $205 million. For the first nine months of 2012, spot was flat at $10.46 billion, off-air was up 2% to $1.12 billion, and digital was up 7% to $561 million.
According to Miller Kaplan Arase, which compiles the figures for the RAB, the third quarter and year-to-date figures don’t include network radio revenues, as a result of insufficient data.
The flat results were due to decreased spending in key categories, including communications and cellular, financial services, insurance companies and restaurants. These declines were partially offset by increases in healthcare advertising, up 26%; auto dealers and manufacturers, up 7%; and department, discount stores, and shopping centers, up 7%.
Political ad spending contributed $24.3 million in the third quarter,
and $47.6 million for the year-to-date.
While digital ad spending has been a bright spot this year, it remains a small part of the total business, contributing just 4.8% of total revenues in the third quarter, and 4.6% of total revenues for the year to date.