Digital Dollars Continue To Grow For Broadcasters

The Radio Advertising Bureau recently released 09 year end and fourth quarter revenue analysis showing that digital platforms were the only revenue category that grew last year. As opposed to Local and National spot, Network and Off-air revenue categories, Digital inventory produced $480 million in 2009, representing a 13% increase in digital revenue.

This is not a strictly streaming number, instead it represents all revenue derived from a station’s website, including activity generated by the websites, internet/web streaming and HD Radio including HD2 and HD3 stations. The report acknowledges that radio’s digital platform continues to provide listeners more choice and deliver additional options for advertisers who, according to the report “increasingly recognize Radio’s loyal audiences who tune in via multiple audio devices such iPods, HD, mobile apps, etc.” Specifically, the analysis points out that Radio’s opt-in communities, ability to drive website traffic, and and branded online opportunities provide additional revenue builders for the industry.

In addition to providing the only growth category for last year, digital revenue is becoming an increasingly significant portion of the revenue solution for broadcasters. In 2009 it represented 6.5% of total revenue (it’s not broken out from all off-air revenue for 2008). Media strategy firm BIA/Kelsey has projected that digital revenues will grow to 30% of radio’s number by 2015 and hit $46.5 billion.

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