In the fourth quarter of 2020, NRB member Salem Media Group grew its digital properties to be its largest segment of revenue, coming in at 28% of total revenue.
According to the 2020 Benchmarking Radio’s Digital Revenues report from Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau, the radio industry average in 2020 was 13.7%, half that of Salem’s digital revenue percentage. A driving factor of Salem’s growth in digital was the launch of The Salem Podcast Network in January 2021.
“This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media,” said Phil Boyce, Salem’s Senior VP of Spoken Word. “The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” Salem said that it expects to continue to grow this network in the near future with more high-profile conservative and Christian podcasts.
Only two months after the network’s launch, it had 11.2 million podcast downloads over the last four weeks and 1.9 million views of the video versions of the shows.
“Advertiser demand has been tremendous, and we have already booked $2.1 million in new business on these new platforms,” said Ed Atsinger, CEO of Salem Media Group.
The Salem Podcast Network is Salem’s latest digital initiative, but Salem has been working on growing its digital revenue through several different initiatives over the past few years. One of these was the launch of Salem Surround in 2018. Salem Surround acts as a digital buying agency for Salem radio clients. Not only does Salem Surround sell audio and digital ads on its 116 radio stations and websites, but it also offers a suite of digital marketing services to develop audience-based marketing strategies for clients on both the local and national levels. This approach followed a trend among radio companies to provide a consultative approach and offer integrated marketing strategies to clients.
Salem’s second digital initiative came with the launch of Salem Now, an on-demand pay-per-view video platform, in the second quarter of 2020.
The company is excited about this surge in digital revenue and is looking forward to future opportunities for growth.
“This growth in digital revenue gives Salem a unique and diversified revenue mix compared to other radio broadcasters,” Atsinger said.