Ad Spend on Outdoor and Radio Rises on National Advertising, New Metrics

Industries Not All the Way Back but Happy with Their Progress

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NEW YORK ( -- Radio and outdoor advertising are seeing renewed spending, helped along by improved measurement and interest from national advertisers -- big focuses for both industries' comeback plans.

Outdoor advertising grew to $1.9 billion in the second quarter, a 3.6% gain over the second quarter of 2009 and the first quarterly gain for the industry since the second quarter of 2008, according to figures from Kantar Media that were released today by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. First-half spending was up 1.8% in 2010, with June outpacing the previous months with a 7.1% increase over June 2009.

Radio revenue, meanwhile, grew to $4.5 billion in the second quarter, a 6% increase over the second quarter last year and radio's strongest quarterly jump since an 8% increase in 2000. With the first half of 2010 now up a combined 6% for radio, the medium is on track to outpace Magna Global's forecast of 3.4% growth for all media this year. The radio-industry stats came from the Radio Advertising Bureau, which reports data from accounting firm Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.

Radio's rebound is riding a significant increase from national advertisers, who boosted their spending 16% in second quarter and 17% in the first half to a total of $1.27 billion in the first two quarters. Driving that growth is a return in spending from automotive marketers (up 26% to $336.4 million), financial services (up 22% to $250.9 million) and communications (up 14% to $385.3 million) as well as new spenders such as retailer Safeway and the American Beverage Association.

Also improving matters for the radio industry is the growing familiarity with new measurement from Arbitron's Personal People Meter and Nielsen's fledgling radio service, which signed Clear Channel as its first major client in 2009.

"Clearly we've positioned the medium to national advertisers to a point where we're not quite back to where we were before the lights got shut off, but in a place that's improved from where we were before," said Jeff Haley, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau. "The interest level is there."

Political advertising has also been a big spender on radio this year, contributing nearly $50 million so far, with dozens of gubernatorial and congressional races set to bring in more dollars in the second half. Digital continued to grow as well, rising 25% in second quarter to $157 million and 22% for the first half to $280 million.

Local advertising, still radio's largest revenue source, was up 3% in the second quarter to $3 billion, and up 3% in aggregate for the first half to $5.49 billion.

Outdoor, which does not break national spending out from local spending, saw the biggest gains from categories such as media and advertising, as TV networks and movie studios such as Fox, Warner Bros., Showtime and HBO increased and, in some instances, more than doubled their spending compared to the prior year. Financial services also grew 14.5%, thanks to triple-digit gains from American Express as well as incremental money from marketers like Chase and Wells Fargo. Government and political ad spending was also up 12.8%, due to an influx of dollars from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as state lotteries and local elections.

One contributor to both industries' growth trajectory is an aggressive new sales strategy from Clear Channel, which rolled out its first combined radio and outdoor upfront to media agencies and national advertisers earlier this summer. Clear Channel accounts for nearly one-sixth of the radio industry's ad revenues alone, positioning the company to outperform the rest of the industry going into the second half of 2010. In second quarter, Clear Channel Media Holdings announced a 4% revenue gain for its radio division, while Clear Channel Outdoor saw revenues rise by 1%.

The Traffic Audit Bureau, the outdoor industry's measurement agency, has also finally rolled out Eyes On, the industry's long-anticipated new audience measurement currency. That's helped several agencies better equate outdoor with other media because they can buy demographics for the first time instead of just audience size.

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