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Broadcast Expected to Reach $36.68B in 2024 Ad Revenue


S & P Global Market Intelligence
S & P Global Market Intelligence

According to a new 2024 analysis from Kagan, the media research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence, the U.S. broadcast station industry is expected to reach $36.68 billion in total advertising revenue in 2024, up 8.4% from $33.84 billion in 2023. Core ad categories -- including pharmaceuticals, telecom and professional services -- are still relatively strong, while the automotive, retail and travel categories remain soft.

Key highlights from the radio station analysis include:

  • The radio station business has been challenged to remain relevant and part of national ad budgets, although it is still relatively strong in the local ad markets.

  • Kagan Research projects a decline in US radio ad revenue of 0.9% to $11.86 billion in 2024. That is roughly $1 billion higher than radio ad revenue in the pandemic ad recession of 2020 but still approximately $2 billion lower than pre-pandemic levels.

  • Radio also must compete with streaming music and podcasting alternatives and with a remote working class that has reduced commuting hours during prime in-car radio time.
Challenges and opportunities facing U.S. broadcast stations today:
  • National advertising: Core ad trends started to improve in the third and fourth quarters of 2023 with an expanded schedule of NFL games and a resolution in writers and actors strikes.

  • Political advertising: Political advertising will be spent disproportionately on local stations in swing-state markets and those with higher expected population growth - such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin - which are forecast to rise more than the national average.

  • Local advertising: Broadcasters continue to hold on to an advantage over their digital rivals, which is the ability to serve and build trust with communities, including through local news, weather and sports programming.

  • Sports: Sports and broadcast have been intertwined since the beginning of radio and TV and have become even more vital for the broadcast business as audiences are still tuning in for the live games despite the multitude of alternative entertainment options.

  • Technology: While AI was a big topic during the writers and actors strikes, the creative process is probably less impacted in the early stages of generative AI (GenAI) models and will have more influence when it comes to technologies around TV and film production, editing and delivery processes, and the advertising targeting and transactional workflows.

  • Broadcast deal market:Total broadcast station deal volume reached $578.4 million in 2023, down from $959.5 million in 2022 and $4.72 billion in 2021.

  • Radio deal market: Radio's 2023 deal volume of just $212.5 million was down 35.6% from the total of $329.9 million in 2022, but there was more activity in the second half of the year and could be more prospects in 2024, with the Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring of Audacy Inc. and smaller privately held radio owners such as Neuhoff Family LP exiting the business.

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