Radio ad sales reach all-time high

Strong demand for airtime and a surge in radio’s popularity with the public helped fuel record advertising sales in the fourth quarter of 1999.

Strong demand for airtime and a surge in radio’s popularity with

the public helped fuel record advertising sales in the fourth quarter of


According to Rajar results out last week, the total number of hours the

public spent listening to radio in the fourth quarter rose above the

one-billion mark. This represented an increase of around 2 per cent on

the third quarter, and a huge year-on-year increase of more than 20 per


Although commercial radio’s share dropped slightly against the BBC,

falling 1.1 per cent to 46.7 per cent, the increase in the absolute

number of listeners and the improved image of the medium among clients,

helped commercial stations improve on 1998 sales figures.

Radio Advertising Bureau figures for 1999 revealed that commercial radio

revenues grew 11.1 per cent to pounds 464 million. Fourth quarter

revenues rocketed 20.4 per cent to a record total of pounds 131


The latest Advertising Association quarterly survey also showed that

radio advertising claimed 5.8 per cent of all UK display ad revenue in

the third quarter of 1999 - its highest ever share.

Explaining radio’s success, Lesley Tapper of the Radio Advertising

Bureau said: ’Advertisers have a lot more confidence that radio can

deliver the listening figures they are looking for. The agencies are

also happier now the many different radio stations have been

consolidated into big sales houses, reducing the number of points of


Howard Bareham, MindShare’s head of radio, said that radio’s success

could be attributed to the simple laws of supply and demand.

’There is probably demand for 15 minutes of advertising in an hour, and

most stations are offering ten or 11 minutes at the most. Quite

obviously that creates very strong demand and rising prices.’

Bareham added that he saw the growth slowing. ’Revenues were growing at

18 or 19 per cent not that long ago but now they’re growing at 11 per

cent. It is slowing down. Then you can add to that equation the strong

inflationary pressure in 1999, when prices rose 15 or even 20 per cent

in some cases.That will slow growth.’

He said he expected a number of launches in the approaching year,

especially in the South, which is ’not nearly as developed in radio

terms as the North’.

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