A new “comprehensive study” by Borrell Associates projects that digital sales for radio will outpace last year’s 11.4 percent growth and grow by 14 percent in 2016. The report, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” found that an average market cluster made $951,756 in digital sales in 2015, with the average station making $231,310. If the forecast of 14 percent growth holds true, digital advertising will account for 6.5 percent of station revenue this year, a full percentage point above the figure for 2015.
Borrell CEO Gordon Borrell said, “All signs point to the radio industry mobilizing even more in the interactive space. Eighty-two percent believe there is strong potential – the highest we’ve ever seen; 62 percent believe that their sales teams’ ability to sell digital products is solid — up from 52 percent a year ago; and 37 percent believe their digital strategy is headed in the right direction — up from 27 percent.”
“Digital continues to be radio’s fastest-growing sector,” RAB President/CEO Erica Farber said. “Stations that are laser-focused on increasing revenue beyond their core broadcast business are experiencing the benefits. The results from this study provide us with insights of where efforts are paying off and what additional training is needed for radio to continue with this trajectory. The RAB is here to help with that knowledge and training.”
The research looked at digital revenue for 2,704 stations and surveyed 250 managers on their attitudes toward digital. The survey found:
Sixteen percent believe radio sales suffer because reps are forced to sell digital advertising. That’s down significantly since 2014, when, Borrell Associates reports, more than half felt that way. Conversely, 24 percent believe that digital sales suffer because reps focus on radio advertising. Three years ago, twice as many felt that way.
The average radio cluster received 0.26 percent of all locally spent Internet advertising, but, says the report, “There were some, however, achieving 15 times that — up to nearly 4 percent.”
The full report is available to RAB members at www.rab.com.