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Clear Channel Digs in Over 30-Second Ads

News, 01 March 2005

America's biggest radio group, Clear Channel Communications, is staying with its 'less is more' advertising sales strategy, despite posting fourth quarter losses.

The company believes cutting the number of 60-second ad spots in favour of 30-second alternatives at 75% of the cost will reap rewards as listeners respond to fewer interruptions.

As a result of this policy Clear Channel reports zero growth in its radio business through Q4, hit by declines in retail, automotive and telecoms advertising. Admits ceo Mark Mays: "There's no question we're taking a short term hit to develop a 30-second marketplace."

However, the company is adamant the market is improving with more 30-second spots sold in February than in January.

Outdoor advertising performed better with 12% earnings growth, although live entertainment faced a difficult year in 2004 with many concerts and events cancelled, resulting in a revenue fall of 12%.

Overall the company posted a net loss of $4.67 billion (€3.53, £2.43) in Q4 following a writedown of the value of its radio licences. The writedown was related to a change in the way it calculates the value of those licences.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff