Web spend is outstripping TV adverts

SPENDING on internet advertising in the UK grew by 4.6 per cent in the first half of 2009, outstripping television ad spend for the first time ever.<br /><br />According to the biannual report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad spend on the internet grew to &pound;1.75bn, with the medium accounting for 23.5 per cent of all spend, despite the wider ad sector declining by nearly 17 per cent.<br /><br />&ldquo;This is a significant milestone,&rdquo; said IAB chief executive Guy Phillipson he said. &ldquo;This is the first major market where online has overtaken television to become the biggest single medium.&rdquo;<br /><br />The IAB said the internet had avoided the advertising slump due to the strong demand for paid-for search on sites such as Google and resilience shown by classified online ads.<br /><br />Paid-for search grew 6.8 per cent from the first half of 2008 to 2009, with marketers investing &pound;1.05bn, equating to 60 per cent of all online advertising expenditure.<br /><br />The online growth was considerably slower than the 21 per cent reported for the first half of 2008, but it still fared far better than television, print and radio, the report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the World Advertising Research Center said.<br /><br />&ldquo;Perhaps surprisingly, a slowing economy has accelerated the migration to digital technology,&rdquo; Eva Berg-Winters of PwC said. &ldquo;Hence the continuing shift from more traditional forms of advertising to online, which promises return on investment and measurability in a period of instability.&rdquo;<br /><br />The internet accounted for 23.5 per cent of all spend, compared with 18.7 per cent in the first half of 2008. Television accounted for 21.9 per cent, press display for 18.5 per cent and direct mail for 11.5 per cent.<br /><br />The shake-up in market share followed a 16.1 per cent fall in television spend, and a more than 20 per cent fall in press display, outdoor advertising and directories.<br /><br />The report confirms the torrid time suffered by commercial media groups of late, such as free-to-air broadcasters and radio, which rely on advertising and are now looking for alternative revenue streams.