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UK Radio Ad Spend Breaks Record

Investment neared £646 million in 2016

March 10, 2017 | Media Buying

The UK’s commercial radio sector reaped its largest ever annual advertising revenue total in 2016, with spending worth £645.8 million ($986.9 million), according to trade group Radiocentre.

UK Radio Ad Spending, 2011-2016 (millions of £)

2016’s tally was up 5.4% over 2015 and was commercial radio’s third consecutive annual revenue gain. The year included a record-setting fourth quarter when radio ad spending, worth £181.1 million ($276.8 million), hit its highest level since 2003.

Automotive, retail, entertainment and leisure, finance and government advertisers were the biggest contributors to radio ad revenue in 2016, but it was also boosted by a 90% jump in spending by online retailers to £12.4 million ($19 million), according to Radiocentre.

Radio ad spend by the retail sector as a whole increased by 2% to £80.8 million ($123.5 million), according to Nielsen data, buoyed by outlays of £9.8 million and £7.1 million ($15 million and $10.9 million), respectively, by supermarket chains Asda and Morrisons.

Sky was the UK’s largest radio advertiser, with spend of £19.4 million ($29.6 million) for the year.

Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre’s CEO, speaking to Campaign, also noted that the debut of 20 new digital audio broadcast (DAB) stations in 2016 expanded the number of venues available for radio advertising and offered listeners even greater choice.

DAB radio’s share of UK weekly radio listening grew incrementally in Q4 2016, according to recent research. Traditional AM/FM radio listening expanded somewhat faster, with 74.5% of the UK population ages 15 and older tuning in at least weekly during the period.

—Cliff Annicelli

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