Instead of the stagnant zero growth tipped only in the summer, GroupM now expects radio ad revenues will grow 5% in 2011. Similarly, ZenithOptimedia also admitted to underestimating the success of commercial radio this year, lifting its own forecast from 0.9% predicted two months ago, to 2.3% growth.
Both revisions provide early recognition that the sector has successfully generated additional revenue since losing its biggest advertiser, COI, last year.
In the third quarter of 2011, some 350 brands spent more than £60,000 on radio, the highest number on record, and a 10% rise over the same period in 2010.
Simon Redican, managing director of the Radio Advertising Bureau, credits radio's record audiences with giving broadcasters more confidence exactly when they needed it this year, and providing clients and agencies a timely pause for thought.
Redican also believes the sector's market leader, Global Radio, deserves recognition for its part in driving innovation. Between June 2010 and June 2011, the home of Capital, Gold and Heart generated £17m worth of new business, a 30% lift year on year, despite the wider economic restraints.
Follow Arif Durrani on Twitter: @DurraniMix
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk