Radio Up & Down, But Is Anybody Listening?

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Has radio advertising plummeted or not? Two sets of figures released last week has told two very different stories – so who’s telling the truth. And is anyone really doing digital radio anymore.

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  <br> With serious questions being raised as to whether digital radio has a long term life in Australia, Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) said last week March revenues rose 0.3 per cent to $60m with growth for both Sydney and Melbourne&nbsp; of 1.8% and 2.3% respectively. <br><br>Meanwhile advertising agencies indicated recently revenus fell drastically, by 16.29% y-o-y, to just under $40m. <br><br>The figure, compiled by Standard Media Index, and collected from some of the country's biggest ad agencies, suggests things are anything but bright for the industry - the drop representing a steep decline compared to 2010.&nbsp; <br><br>Overall ad spend across general media was also down by 2 per cent, according to SMI. <br><br>However, the chief exec of CRA has fought back, saying SMI's data does not take into account bookings made direct to radio stations, and fails to consider all agencies that make up the industry.<br><br>"The (CRA) figures are actual revenue figures and they are provided by every network and every station," she insists.<br><br>Warner also argued her figures are professionally audited by Deloitte. "They compile them and then they check them," she told The Australian. <br><br>Although admitting it was "a slower month" Warner said in the press  release the industry was "still performing well" and experienced "solid  growth over the past twelve months. <br><br>However, it seems Deloitte just compile the figures from information fed  by the CRA as opposed to audit them very extensively, according to  reports. <br><div class="NFBreak" style=page-break-before:always contenteditable="false">&nbsp;</div> Given the wide gaping hole between the two figures, many now within the industry are doubting CRA's self compiled figures and the viability of radio as a powerful medium. <br><br>"I'd be more inclined to trust SMI data," one media buyers was reported to have said. <br><br>SMI says it has contracts with all major media buying agencies to provide ad booking data, whose clients include Mediacom, Maxus and OMD. <br><br>However, CRA figures are on the right track, a Nielsen spokesperson told SmartHouse today.&nbsp; <br><br>&nbsp;50-60 per cent of the total revenue comes from agencies. But radio also has a big sales team. A significant amount of revenue comes from local retailers, Westfields and motor dealers and so on, he said. <br><br>"The CRA argument is quite sound," he insisted.&nbsp; And he should know. Nielsen feed radio data directly to CRA and the ad industry.<br><br>According to recent figures 700,000 people listen to digital radio in an average week, in the five state capitals and over 400,000 digital radios are in the market, according to a Digital Radio Industry Report released last month by CRA. <br><br>There are approximately 22 million radio sets across the 5 capital  cities; every household has at least one radio and on average has 4.2  sets.<br><br>And more people are switching to digital than ever before: 691,000 tuned in or 5.6% of the population during Jan10-Jan11 - up from 449,000, the previous period. <br><br>&nbsp;Time spent listening to radio via DAB+ digital devices is 11 hours 11 

minutes a week – a rise of almost three hours since last year, double
the numbers who listen via the net, which is over 5 hours.

 

Time spent listening to radio via DAB+ digital devices is 11 hours 11 minutes a week – a rise of almost three hours since last year, double the numbers who listen via the net, which is over 5 hours.

“We’re very pleased with these latest figures but recognise there is still much work to be done, particularly in relation to the roll out of digital radio to the rest of Australia,” said Joan Warner. 

CRA have also expressed their desire to rollout the regional radio and other industry figures are calling on the Federal Government to part funding a national Digital Radio Network (DRN).

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