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Audio and Radio forecasts

Christina Duff, Investment Director

by Christina Duff, Investment Director

Core Investment


We estimate that radio advertising revenues fell by 7.3% to €102.4 million in 2020. This was driven by an estimated 28% decline in the local and direct markets. The demand for spot advertising at a national level was strong, due to a significant increase in government spend, which accounted for approximately one third of all advertising activity on radio last year.

In 2021, we anticipate that advertising investment in the Republic of Ireland will grow slightly to €104.2 million, an increase of 1.8%. Digital audio (podcasts and online streaming) investment has seen a surge since March last year as consumption increased, and this will continue to grow, reaching approximately €7.3 million in 2021.

After several consecutive years of growth, the Northern Ireland radio market recorded a decline of 17.2% in 2020 with estimated revenue of £12.0 million (€13.5m). We expect this to grow by 8.1% to £13.0 million (€14.6m) in 2021.

Bauer Media Group’s recent acquisition of Communicorp, for circa €100 million, is likely to be the standout event in the industry this year. The Communicorp stable is an impressive collection of premium audio brands – Today FM, Newstalk, 98FM, Spin 1038, Spin South West, OTB Sports and AudioXi – which accounts for circa 38.5% of all advertising investment in audio channels in the Republic of Ireland.

Bauer is a long-established privately owned media business, headquartered in Hamburg, with radio interests in seven countries (now eight), including Northern Ireland, where it owns Downtown and Cool FM. It is also Europe’s largest magazine publisher.

It is likely that Bauer’s strategy will be to boost the digital presence of its new assets to broaden listenership and drive new revenue. No doubt, there will also be pressure to increase yield from existing inventory, so advertisers will need to watch this closely.

This is a fascinating development, which will bring a welcome injection of excitement to the sector. We will be watching with interest to see what emerges from within the Bauer camp and across the entire audio industry. There is nothing like fresh competition to give the market a stir and inspire innovation.

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