Radio revenue down 22.7% in 2020, but December shows positive signs

Staff Writer

Year-on-year revenue for radio was down 22.7%, according to figures compiled by Standard Media Index (SMI).

SMI measures the spending of major media agency groups across all major media forms and product categories.

The 2020 decline was worse than television’s 12.0% decline, and digital’s fall of just 2.5%.

It was, however, significantly better than outdoor’s 38.4% fall, newspapers’ 26.4% decline, magazines’ 42.4% drop, and cinema’s catastrophic 67.9% change.

Recent figures from Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) measured that commercial radio revenues were down 25.2% for 2020 when compared to 2019.

There were more positive signs, however, for the month of December, with the drop for radio being just 0.4%, according to SMI. This again put it behind digital (15.9% climb) and television (up 11.0%), but ahead of other mediums.

Overall the ad market grew 2.0% in December, the third month of growth, since November’s 8.3% improvement. October’s figures had initially showed an overall decline of 4.8%, however late bookings meant the figure actually climbed to a year-on-year 0.4% improvement.

SMI’s managing director, Jane Ractliffe, said the figures show the advertising recovery is here to stay.

“There’s now no doubt that the market has moved strongly beyond the COVID ad recession and is quickly rebuilding,’’ she said.

“The evidence is clear as total ad spend for the December quarter is now up 5.4% and we can see that well more than half of all the SMI product categories grew their media investment in this period. And our Forward Pacings data – which tracks confirmed future ad bookings – shows ongoing growth across numerous categories.”

The year-on-year overall advertising market decline of 15.0% translates to a $1.1 billion fall in the amount of advertising revenue sold in Australia in 2020 compared to 2019. Travel suffered most greatly (down $241 million), with automotive brands not far behind (a decline of $226.6 million).

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5 Feb 2021 - 9:35 am

So, not quite the 30% required for Jobseeker payments then? Maybe they shouldn’t have been receiving taxpayer funding after all. Will they pay it back?


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