Commercial radio revenues hit record levels despite huge drop in Govt adspend

Commercial radio revenues hit record levels despite huge drop in Govt adspend
Covid-19: Government adspend surged during the pandemic but fell 60% for radio in 2022

Commercial radio revenues hit £740m in total last year, radio’s highest ever total recorded revenue, despite a huge drop in the amount of media being bought by Government advertising as UK Covid-19 restrictions subsided.

Broadcaster Sky became radio’s biggest advertiser in 2022, jumping from third place in 2021 by increasing its spend by 9.5% year-on-year to £19.6m, according to data compiled by radio’s commercial marketing body Radiocentre.

Meanwhile, UK Government spend plummeted from £26.6m in 2021 to just £10.6m last year — a 60% decline. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, Government spend did not feature among the top-10 radio spenders and then rocketed to £27.8m in 2020 amid a surge in information messaging about Covid-19.

Sky is a familar name amount UK brands who spend big on radio and was last the country’s number-one spender in 2019. Sky’s media strategy lead Julia Belyaeva, revealed at last year’s Future of Audio conference that the UK’s biggest pay-TV operator is most excited about developing long-term relationships with radio channels when it comes to its audio advertising.

McDonalds, meanwhile, has consistently been one of the top three highest spenders on radio over the same time period.

Much of radio’s commercial growth last year came from branded content and digital platforms, increasing year-on-year by 11.7% and 6.9% respectively. This new total beat the most recent record of £718.7m from 2021.

Matt Payton, CEO of Radiocentre, said of the revenue results: “Radio’s performance continues to defy all expectations, even in challenging economic times.”

Many brands, particularly retailers, have increased their spend on radio over the last year. For example, Lidl, Boots, and DSG upped their investment by 48.4%, 47.8%, and 35.7% respectively.

Spend from travel brands also rose due to a “post-pandemic travel boom” with Jet2 “leading the way” increasing its adspend on radio by 67.2% year-on-year.

Radio in a cost-of-living crisis

Radiocentre, the trade body for commercial radio, made the case for radio as “an advertiser’s friend in a cost-of-living crisis” in a report published today.

The report found that integrating radio in the media mix improved market share, awareness, relevance, trust and consideration.

In addition, radio provided the most impacts for £1 media spend out of all media channels, the report said.

While the cost-of-living crisis is obviously creating some uncertainty, we are optimistic and given that radio is in such a positive place, 2023 looks bright for the medium. As our new report shows, radio is well-suited to help businesses stay in good shape in uncertain times, making it the perfect place for brands to invest”.

Radiocentre CEO: we can’t just stand still and tell the same story


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