Pages Navigation Menu

Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

The public money in commercial radio

HMS - her majesty´s smile

Pumping public money into struggling commercial industries is all the rage. (Lucy Kellaway in her brilliant Financial Times column noted how it’s always “pumped” in. Or ocassionally “injected”.)

But did you know how much of commercial radio’s revenue comes from the public purse?

COI Communications, the UK Government’s information machine spent £49.8 million on commercial radio advertising in the year to October 2008, that’s about a quarter of COI’s total above-the-line spend.

How significant is that? Well, it represents 8.6% of commercial radio’s total income of £582.2 million in that period. The Government is, by a long chalk, radio’s number one advertiser, outspending the rest of the top ten put together. Yes, even DFS and Autoglass.

And it’s a longtime benefactor too. COI has spent more on radio than anyone else every year since 1997. With such repeat business it’s clearly getting a great return on its radio spend and this is no act of charity.

But it’s one client you wouldn’t want to upset.

Source: RAB/Neilsen Media Research
Photo: HMS – her majesty´s smile by jankroemer. Used under licence.

One Comment

  1. The COI has been a big spender in radio for a good many years.

    It’s also worth mentioning that many of the government-sponsored ‘ads’ you hear on some commercial stations – LBC in particular – are known as ‘fillers’. They are financed by the relevant government departments but those ‘public service announcements’ (as they were once called) warning us about not bringing back sausages and other meat products from non-EU countries, or the one about the girl on holiday with a likely £15,000 hospital bill, are freebies.