Wireless Category Snubs Wireless Medium, Radio Fails to Capture Cell Phone Ad Budgets

Ad spending for cellular phone companies grew to $3.6 million in the United States last year, but too few of those dollars are making it to radio, a study by New York-based marketing consultancy Interep Research argued.

Currently, the bulk of wireless media spending is devoted to newspapers (47 percent) and a combination of network, spot, syndication, and cable (40 percent), according to the study, which is comprised of data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Mediamark Research Inc., the Radio Advertising Bureau's Media Facts, and other industry analysts. Radio receives roughly 7 percent of the $3.6 billion spent on media last year, Interep said.

"Wireless advertising has continued to rise, even through the ad recession of the last few years, but our study found that cell phone marketers could be dividing their budgets a bit more intelligently," said Rebecca Lovett, an Interep research analyst who worked on the study. "The amount of dollars wireless companies are putting into radio is disproportionate to the wide reach that radio actually delivers to potential customers."



Among Interep's findings:

* In any given week in 2003, 88 percent of cell phone users said they listened to radio versus 82 percent who said they watched primetime TV and cable
* Cell phone owners are 23 percent more likely than the average adult to listen to an all-talk radio format
* Verizon and Cingular account for roughly 50 percent of all cell phone radio advertising

Furthermore, Interep suggested that cell phone advertisers might want to zero in on Hispanic and youth market radio listeners. "New wireless subscribers were 60 percent more likely to be between the ages of 18 and 24," Lovett noted. "Similarly, new cell phone subscribers in 2003 were 69 percent more likely to be Hispanic than the overall population of new cell phone service buyers. Radio is a major media source for both those key demographic groups."

Interep's study was conducted over the past two months on behalf of its media sales consulting subsidiary, Morrison & Abraham, Lovett said, noting that neither entity is affiliated with a cell phone or radio property.

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