UK radio revenues decline

11 March 2009

LONDON: Total radio revenues fell to £560.2 million (€607m; $773m) in the UK in 2008, as national and local advertisers cut back on advertising spend by a total of 6.3%, with a particularly sharp drop off in the final quarter.

While radio is also predicted to see advertising revenues fall this year, its relative low cost and flexibility should see it remain more stable than other mediums such as newspapers.

For last year as a whole, the RAB found that national advertisers cut their expenditure by 9.6% to a total of £304.8m, including a slump of 21.2% in the last quarter alone.

Local radio ad revenues also fell by 6.1% to £149.6m for the year as a whole, including a drop off of 9.8%, to £36.2m, in Q4.

Sponsorship and sales promotion expenditure also fell by 1.1% in the last three months of 2008 to £27.1m, but increased by 4.3% over the course of last year to a total value of £105.8m.

Stuart Taylor, ceo of Guardian Media Group Radio, argued that the improvement in sponsorship and promotion figures showed that clients valued the "new ideas" offered by the medium, but said the situation as a whole was a "mixed picture".

The Film Distributors' Association has also reported that cinema admissions rose by 1.1% to 164.2 million last year, with box office sales up 3.7% to £854.4m, largely based on the success of films such as Mamma Mia and The Dark Knight.

However, the total of £305m spent on marketing some 531 films over the year constituted a decline of £9m on the previous 12 months.

Figures from The Nielsen Company also show that auto advertisers dramatically cut their total spending levels in the UK last year.

Ford's media outlay in the country was down from £60m in 2007 to £55m last year, while Toyota cut its expenditure from £40m to £27.2m, and Vauxhall slashed its adspend from £60.6m to £47.8m.

According to BARB, the number of commercial impacts for automotive ads also fell by 20% in the first six weeks of this year.

Data sourced from Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff