Radio revenues down 22% on pre-pandemic levels

Photo: Gary Butterfield on Unsplash

Metropolitan commercial radio stations collectively brought in $627.776 million in advertising revenue in the most recent financial year, according to industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).

The industry body painted this as a relatively good news story, given it is just a 2.4% decline on the 2020 financial year’s $643.046 million.

This has already tumbled over 20%, however, from the pre-pandemic figure of $807.701 million. Comparing the 2019 financial year to the most recent one, radio revenues have fallen 22.28% throughout the pandemic.

Radio’s ‘recovery’ was helped along by the later part of the most recent financial year, with June quarter revenues for the 2021 financial year at $175.431 million, compared to $114.104 million last year (an increase of 53.8%). 2019’s figure was $213.748 million.

Looking at the month of June in isolation, CRA said revenue for the month was up 40.9% year-on-year to $64.109 million. Until recently, CRA only released quarterly figures, so pre-pandemic figures for June are not available.

Victoria remained Australia’s largest market in terms of advertising revenue, with $20.217 for the month, up 36% from last year’s low. New South Wales was up 46% to $19.670 million, while Queensland jumped 51% to $10.244 million. Western Australia was bigger than its southern counterpart, with $8.321 million (up 37%), compared to South Australia’s $5.739 million (up 31%).

All states also recorded year-on-year growth across the June quarter, but remained down on 2019 levels.

CRA’s chief executive Joan Warner conceded there would be some impacts from the current lockdowns, but said conditions are looking more positive this year than last.

“Advertising spend had rebounded strongly before the current lockdowns. Some caution has crept into the market due to uncertainty about how long the restrictions will last, but the longer-term economic indicators remain positive. Some businesses are also more prepared this time around to manage through the disruption.

“As we’ve seen through previous lockdowns, radio remains highly relevant when people need news and information.”

The metropolitan revenue figures are compiled by Deloitte and report on revenue received by metropolitan commercial radio stations in the five major capital city markets. The figures include agency and direct ad revenue.

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