Commercial radio ad revenue drops 12% YOY for March quarter

• The Sydney market was the hardest hit, with revenue down 16.4% to $47.360 million.

Advertising revenue for Australian metropolitan commercial radio stations fell by 12.4% in the March quarter to $159.404 million, compared to $182.025 million a year ago, according to figures compiled by Deloitte and released by Commercial Radio Australia.

The Sydney market was the hardest hit, with revenue down 16.4% to $47.360 million.
Melbourne stations were down 11.3% to $52.220 million.
Revenue for Brisbane stations fell 8.3% for the quarter to $25.321 million.
Perth was down 14.5% to $19.819 million.
Adelaide was 6.5% lower at $14.684 million.

“Radio is usually resilient in downturns but the coronavirus has had a bigger initial impact than the GFC. The real and full effect of business closures on revenue won’t be known until the June quarter,” CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said.

The industry’s advertising holdings platform RadioMATRIX indicated there were falls in agency ad spend in March across a number of categories, including live entertainment, motor vehicles, restaurants and property.

“Radio has evolved to stay competitive, but these results have magnified the issues facing free-to-air broadcasters. We’re now competing for ad revenue with global tech giants that do not operate under the same rules and regulations as we do, and this needs to be addressed quickly by regulators,” Warner said.

Ad revenues had already been impacted by weakening economic conditions prior to the pandemic.

The Deloitte figures show radio ad revenue over the nine months of the financial year to date totalled $528.943 million, an 11% decline over the same period a year ago.

The Deloitte figures report actual revenue received by metropolitan commercial radio stations in the five major capital city markets and include agency and direct ad revenue.

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