The commercial radio business is looking stronger, especially on digital platforms.
Terrestrial and digital radio revenue went up in 2012, with 4th quarter revenues surging even more. That’s according to a report from the Radio Advertising Bureau.
Revenue from commercial spots inched up 1% for the year overall, but increased 4% in the 4th quarter, mostly likely due to political advertising during the presidential election. This comes after a down year in 2011.
Digital revenue was up 8% for the year, and increased a full 11% in the last quarter. The digital category includes revenue from websites, online streams, as well as digital HD Radio signals.
Since the digital revenue numbers aren’t split out between online streams and other platforms, we can’t use this report to punch holes in Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey’s assertion that he doesn’t see a business model in streaming. Nevertheless, it does appear that building out a strong online presence is a good business strategy for commercial stations. This should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, except the big radio execs who are just starting to awake from their consolidation-induced slumber.