Online advertising overtakes TV advertising for first time

The poor economy in the U.S. has caused hardships for many different companies from technology firms to the publishing industry. Ad revenues fell sharply in the print publishing industry leading to several publications being forced to close up shop or transition to a digital medium.

The U.S. isn’t alone in its struggles against the poor economy; the same war rages in the UK as well. BBC News reports that online advertising spending has now overtaken television ad spends for the first time ever. Online ad spends grew 4.6% to £1.752 billion while TV ad spends shrank 16.1% to £1.639 billion for the first half of 2009.

Ad revenues in the UK fell overall by 16% compared to the same period of 2008 according to a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The different types of online ads include email campaigns, classified ads, display ads, and search marketing. UK commercial TV broadcasters said that the comparison to online advertising was unfair.

Many advertisers have migrated their advertising spending from TV and print to the internet because it provides greater tracking capabilities that advertisers can use to fine tune campaigns. New Media Age's Justin Pearse said that the tough economy had fueled the migration from traditional media to the Internet faster than anyone had expected.

Pearse said, "It had to happen eventually, but online advertising has been seen as the poor cousin to TV for so long that it's still a huge milestone."

The biggest spenders on online advertising were technology firms making up about 19% of online ad spending. Following tech firms were telecoms, finance firms, and entertainment firms. The main marketing body for UK TV broadcasters, ThinkBox, points out that the figures that pushed online ad spends above TV ad spends did not compare apples to apples.

Thinkbox's Lindsey Clay said, "Online marketing spend is made up of many things including e-mail, classified ads, display ads and, overwhelmingly, search marketing. They should be judged individually." Naturally, Clay maintains that TV ad spends are pound-for-pound the most effective advertising medium.

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