Friday, May 14, 2021

BIA: Radio's Shining Star Continues To Be Digital Revenue

As anticipated, the radio industry took a very big hit in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent cutbacks in overall spending activity. According to the first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2021 Investing In Radio® Market Report over-the-air advertising revenues dropped to $9.7 billion, a -23.6 percent decline from $12.8 billion in 2019. 

Digital ad revenues at stations demonstrated their continued strength, though, posting only a slight decline to $939 million in revenues in 2020 versus $1 billion in 2019.

“Local radio stations have been feeling the impact of new competition for the past few years; unfortunately, the pandemic just exacerbated the problem and it will take some time to recover,” said Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA Advisory Services. “The shining star continues to be radio’s online digital advertising revenues, which will outpace over-the-air growth this year and moving forward. Those broadcasting groups that have invested in and oriented their companies toward digital will benefit faster from that foresight.”

Fratrik forecasts 2021 total local radio revenues to reach $11.7 billion, with $1 billion coming directly from online revenues; a 9.7 percent increase over 2020.

The report also covers radio station sales transactions and comparisons year-over-year. Mirroring the economic climate in 2020, radio station sales fell to levels that hadn’t been seen in years. Only 534 stations were sold in 2020 for an estimated value of $139 million – a stark contrast from the 1,080 sold in 2011 for $1.1 billion.

The 2021 first-quarter edition of Investing in Radio Market Report provides a complete profile of every Nielsen Audio market, with historic and projected demographic and financial statistics. It is available for purchase online. The report can be purchased here. Information in the Investing In Radio books is also available in Media Access Pro™, a data and analytical service that delivers comprehensive information on the radio, television, and newspaper industries.

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