Monday, January 03, 2011

Figures Lie

Competitive revenue estimates have always been a very tricky game, since some owners refuse to report and others exaggerate or minimize what they do share with the auditing firms.

One thing is for sure, though, in the Inside Radio readers poll estimates for 2011. The recession is over for radio and spring flowers are already starting to bloom.

"Digital dollars are growing in importance for many stations, but their impact on the bottom line remains fairly small according to most readers. Four-in-ten say digital and interactive revenue will represent just 1%-3% of 2011 billings. One-in-five (21%) predict they’ll account for 4%-6% of ad revenue with 13% predicting they’ll be worth 7%-10%. Just 5% of respondents expect 11% or more of 2011 revenue at their station or cluster to come from digital. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the number who thinks online is still a revenue dud: nearly one-in-five (19%) say digital/interactive will account for less than 1% of their billings this year."

As we move forward into the year, I hope those percentages go DOWN, not UP.

Here's why:

Half of Inside Radio readers responding to our year-end survey said their station or cluster’s revenue goal is mid-single digits or higher. More than one-in-five (22%) say their goal is 10% or higher compared to last year, with nearly three-in-ten (28%) facing a 2011 goal that’s up 6%-10% over 2010. Roughly one-third of readers (31%) say their revenue goal is up 1%-5% this year with 12% budgeting for a flat year. Revenues did recover more quickly than some expected in 2010 and that may be one reason why 5% of readers who took our survey said they expect revenue to decline this year. The industry was fairly split on 2010. Slightly more than half (53%) said their station or cluster reached its revenue goal last year, with 47% saying they missed the target.

If the most optimistic and productive half of the Inside Radio readers do hit their goals and traditional revenues go up for the top half of stations between six and ten+ percent, that could make their percentage of revenues from online and NTR activities drop, even though total dollars from all sources go UP.

E-marketers may fail to report it that way in the coming year, but wouldn't THAT be a delightful thing?

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