Commercial radio enjoys biggest advertising revenue figures in 2016

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Commercial radio is celebrating a record-breaking year for advertising revenue, boosted by increased investment in the medium by online retailers. Figures from Radiocentre, the industry body for UK commercial radio, reveal that commercial radio took £645.8 million in ad revenue in 2016, its highest ever figure. This represents a 5.4% increase on the previous year, outperforming the total 2016 advertising industry growth estimate of 4.4% from the Advertising Association/WARC. The fourth quarter of 2016 was also the biggest on record with advertisers, growing 7.7% to £181.1 million, beating the previous record fourth quarter of £168.4 million in 2003. The motor industry, retail, entertainment and leisure, finance and government remain the biggest sectors for radio advertising but the medium was also boosted by a 90% growth in spend from online retailers, almost doubling from £6.5 million in 2015 to £12.4 million in 2016.


Siobhan Kenny

Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre, said: “These figures show that commercial radio is in great shape. Advertisers continue to value the reach, effectiveness and impact of radio and are making the most of its ability to reach far and wide.”

Key details underpinning the 2016 revenue figures:-

  • eBay increased its radio spend by 600% to £5 million.

  • Advertising investment from the retail sector as a whole also increased, by 2% to £80.8 million.

  • Sky remains the largest UK radio with spend of £19.4 million.

  • ASDA and Morrisons continue to be big supporters of the medium, with spends of £9.8 and £7.1 million respectively.

The findings from RAJAR for this period include:-

  • Live radio continues to dominate audio listening.

  • Over half of all audio listening among 15-24 year olds is still via live radio, rising to 88% among those aged 55 and over.

  • Live radio continues to reach 89% of the population and is second only to TV.

  • Radio reaches its maximum audience at 8am, with on-demand music peaking at 3pm and listen again/catch-up radio at 11pm.   


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