Web winning the ad war

The Internet will overtake national newspapers in the battle for advertising spend in the United Kingdom by the end of the year, it was predicted this week.

GroupM, which accounts for about 30% of global media buying, says in a report to be published next month that the Internet will account for 13,3% of the £12,2-billion UK advertising market this year, overtaking national newspapers with a share of 13,2%.

The figure for Web advertising could be even bigger, because the report excludes the estimated £1-billion a year spent on ”affiliate advertising”, which largely comprises adverts placed on smaller websites.

The speed at which advertisers have shifted expenditure on to the Web has surprised many. Six years ago the Web was an upstart medium that controlled only 1% of the multibillion-pound British advertising market, despite being lavished with media and investor attention. The closely related factors of growth in broadband usage and declining newspaper circulation appear to have justified the hype.

”Reach is what advertisers want most,” says the GroupM report. ”National newspapers still have lots of it, but less reach means less ad money.”

GroupM warns that the migration of classified adverts to the Net could be dangerous for all nationals because they are such a profitable niche, accounting for a quarter of nationals’ advertising revenue: ”Online substitution of classifieds is therefore particularly threatening given print’s massive operational gearing. Jobseekers know they don’t need to buy nationals any more.” — Â

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