Commercial radio ad revenue increased 3.4% year-on-year across Australia’s five main metropolitan areas in 2018, taking total income to A$809.4m, a new report has revealed.

Based on data compiled by professional services firm Deloitte, industry body Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) said Melbourne was the strongest market throughout 2018, although there was growth across the country.

Radio ad revenue in Melbourne increased 7.6% to $259.82m last year, with Sydney witnessing growth of 1.35% to $248.66m, while Brisbane was up 2.42% to $125.31m.

Perth came in fourth in terms of total revenues, having grown 1.15% to $106.11m in 2018, while Adelaide saw an increase of 1.2% to $69.5m.

The figures suggest that commercial radio, at least in large Australian cities, is a traditional medium that has responded well to the challenge posed by digital platforms.

According to Joan Warner, CEO of CRA, the industry worked hard last year to attract advertisers and listeners, especially by making “buying radio easier through the automated holdings system and listening even more accessible via RadioApp, DAB+, FM or AM, in the car on the phone and through smart speakers”.

The positive CRA findings also chime with recent WARC analysis, which forecast that advertising expenditure growth in the entire Australian market – including both metropolitan and regional radio – is expected to rise by 1.4% to $1.29bn in 2019.

In addition, the findings come after the CRA released separate data earlier this week, showing that commercial radio audiences reached a record high in 2018.

More than 10.7 million people tuned in to commercial radio each week in the five main metropolitan areas, an increase of 270,000 listeners, or growth of 2.6% on 2017.

“2018 was a strong year for commercial radio, with gains in the all-important breakfast radio shift as well as for morning and drive time shows,” said Warner.

“Breakfast radio continues to be a powerhouse, attracting 7.7 million listeners every week, and has increased audiences every year for the last ten years,” she added.

Sourced from Commercial Radio Australia; additional content by WARC staff