Tuesday 30 July 2019 12:01 am

UK ad spend defies economic gloom to hit £6bn as online radio drives growth

UK ad spend defied economic uncertainty and fraught political tensions to grow to £6bn in the first quarter, new figures have revealed.

Advertising spend rose 4.2 per cent year-on-year thanks to strong growth in the video on-demand, online display and online radio sectors.

Read more: Social media ad spend growth plummets amid decline in trust

The figures, published by industry bodies the Advertising Association and Warc, mark the twenty-third consecutive quarter of growth.


The standout performance came from online radio, which posted 26.5 per cent higher ad spend compared to the same period last year.

It comes amid a boom for commercial radio stations, which reported their highest ever listener numbers in the first quarter.

“As the radio business evolves to stay ahead in the digital era, it’s no surprise we are seeing growth in radio’s online advertising revenues, as the medium develops an ever richer offering to advertisers,” said Siobhan Kenny, chief executive of Radiocentre, which represents commercial radio stations in the UK.

“For example, the additional data-led targeting opportunities available through internet connected devices enable broadcasters to deliver advertising messages tailored to individual listeners. This, coupled with the levels of trust listeners still have in radio, bodes well for the future.”

The continued popularity of streaming services helped drive strong growth for video on-demand advertising, while online display also grew by double digits year-on-year.

“These figures are testament to the resilience of UK advertising during an uncertain period for business, leading up to the original Brexit date,” said Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford.

“We see online advertising in all its forms continuing to perform strongly, demonstrating again how the UK is Europe’s leading online advertising marketplace.”


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Cinema also beat expectations to grow 12.3 per cent compared to the first quarter last year. However, the decline in print advertising continued over the quarter, with national news brands and magazines both suffering a drop in ad spend of more than seven per cent.

The report forecast that ad spend will grow 4.6 per cent to £24.6bn over the year, with the UK ad market expected to grow a further 5.3 per cent in 2020.

Main image credit: Getty

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