Britain’s radio stations pulled in record ad revenues in the first three months of 2003, an industry body claims.

According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, adspend in the medium jumped 2.3% year-on-year in the first quarter to £138.9 million ($226.9m; €194.8m), with major rises in radio outlay from Procter & Gamble (+69%), Lever Fabergé (+35%) and Nestlé (+20%).

Over the twelve months to March, says the RAB, total radio spend climbed 3% to £566m.

• Such findings undermine claims from the online industry that the internet is catching up with radio as an ad medium.

A new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals that 2002 online spend overtook cinema advertising for the first time, and targets radio as the next medium to beat. The report is an update on figures released last month showing web outlay jumped 18.7% in 2002 [WAMN: 17-Apr-03] – though it still totalled only £197m, well under half of radio advertising for the twelve months to March.

“We are very comfortable to say that we have the radio figure in our sights,” insisted IAB chief executive Danny Meadows-Klue, before admitting: “Though it is still some way away yet.”

The new IAB/PwC figures reveal that the sector spending most on web ads was financial services, which accounted for 26% of total internet outlay. They also found a seasonal pattern whereby online spend slows in the third quarter before surging in the fourth.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff