Commercial radio delivers record advertising revenues in 2017

Lakh Baddhan

Senior Editor


Commercial radio registered record advertising revenues in 2017 than in any other previous year.

According to Radio Centre, the body, which represents commercial radio in the UK, commercial radio took £679.2 million in ad revenue last year. It represents a 5.2% increase year on year, outperforming the total 2017 advertising industry growth estimate of 4.7% from the Advertising Association/WARC. Radio’s 2017 revenue also builds on 2016’s record ad revenue for the medium.

12 out of the Top 20 radio advertisers now spend more than 20% of their total advertising budget on radio, and over half of those same advertisers increased their spend by 40% or more.

Radio has enjoyed growing investment for brand-led advertising from companies such as Tesco, which used radio for its Food Love Stories campaign increasing its investment significantly to £7.8m. Online retailers also took advantage of commercial radio’s record reach in 2017 with Amazon significantly bolstering its radio investment for entertainment services such as Amazon Music and Prime and the promotion of the voice activated assistant Echo, increasing its total spend by 118% to £5.2m; eBay also increased its spend by just under 40% to £8.4m.

Sky remains the UK’s biggest radio spender increasing spend on the medium by 46%. The proportion of total media budget Sky allocates to radio also grew by over 50% demonstrating greater commitment to the medium over other media. The motor industry remains the biggest sector for radio advertising and other traditionally strong categories such as fast food brands grew significantly underpinned by increased spend across McDonalds, KFC and Dominos.

All formats, including local and sponsorship & promotion, saw increases in revenue, however there was particularly strong growth for both national spot airtime and digital advertising in 2017.

Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre says, “Commercial radio is currently enjoying really positive momentum in terms of both audiences and ad revenues. It’s great this success is attracting new advertisers to the medium and encouraging existing advertisers to increase their commitment.”