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RAIN 2/22: Digital again radio's bright spot after another stormy year, says RAB

Posted on: 02/22/2010

WHILE INDUSTRY OVERALL SLUMPS, DIGITAL EARNS 13% INCREASE

The only bright spot in a year of falling revenues was digital media, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau’s year-end report. Digital earned $480 million in 2009 — a 13% growth from 2008. Additionally, digital’s Q4 revenue of $133 million was a 15% increase over 2008’s final quarter. RAB notes, “the digital sector has maintained its upward trajectory throughout 2009…marketers increasingly recognize Radio’s loyal audiences who tune in via multiple audio devices such iPods, HD, mobile apps, etc.”

In 2008, digital revenue was measured with other “Off-Air” earnings, which were up 7% over 2007. It too was the only positive revenue growth for radio that year, with overall revenues sinking 9% (RAIN coverage here).

Radio’s overall revenue for 2009 ($16 billion) dropped 18% from 2008. However, President/CEO of RAB Jeff Haley argues that “in 2009, Radio went from -25% in May to flat in December – a tremendous lead-in to 2010.” For more, read RAB’s press release here.

BIA/KELSEY PREDICTSSTEADY SHIFT” OF AD DOLLARS TO DIGITAL MEDIA

With digital revenues increasing for radio, it may come as no surprise that BIA/Kelsey expects ad spending for online and interactive media to more than double by 2014. The firm predicts — in its U.S. Local Media Annual Forecast for 2009 — that online ad revenue will grow from $15.2 billion in 2009 to $36.7 billion in 2014. Indeed, BIA/Kelsey says in coming years there will be “a steady shift toward digital media.”

Meanwhile, there will not be “a rapid recovery among traditional media over the forecast period, because we believe the structural change in the local media industry has accelerated.” BIA/Kelsey expects spending on traditional media to decline by $6.8 billion from 2009 to 2014.

PANDORA EARNED $50 MILLION IN 2009, BEATING PREVIOUS ESTIMATES

CNN Money reports that Pandora earned $50 million in 2009, an increase over previous estimates that the popular webcaster would take in $40 million (RAIN coverage here). That revenue put Pandora in the black for the first time, though founder Tim Westergren notes that $30 million of that revenue was spent on the “albatross” of Internet radio companies: royalty payments. CNN Money has more on the story here.

KCRW SELECTS FERRO AS NEW GM

Public radio station KCRW-FM (89.9) has named Jennifer Ferro (pictured left) as the station’s new general manager. Ferro, who started with KCRW in 1994, was previously assistant general manager. According to the Los Angeles Times (here), she said her “initial approach to running the station would combine programming continuity with a push toward innovation in such areas as fundraising and technology.” Ferro succeeds Ruth Seymour, who is retiring after 32 years as GM.



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