Between the Lines: Commercial radio's blues

Spring came early for the ad industry with the Advertising Association's January prediction that UK adspend would rise by 4.2 per cent in 2005.

Since then, a heavy chill has set in with a series of dismal revenue statements from media owners. The latest was from GCap Media, the merged company created from Capital Radio and GWR. Its chief executive, David Mansfield, revealed April revenues were down 17 per cent from a year before.

He blamed slowing consumer spending for hitting the adspend of top advertisers, notably telecoms and retail companies. Other media reliant on national ad revenues have also been hit - ITV's June revenues could be down by 18 per cent and newspaper groups are bemoaning a stagnant market.

However, the problem seems especially acute in radio, with Chryalis announcing radio revenue down 12.5 per cent for March and April. The BBC's might, combined with an exaggerated internal focus as the radio market consolidates, has reversed momentum. It's looking like a bad year for commercial radio.

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