UK Internet ad spend overtakes TV for first time

Spending on Internet advertising in Britain grew 4.6 percent in the first half of 2009, outperforming the wider ad sector, which slumped 17 percent, and making it the countryís biggest ad medium ahead of TV. According to the biannual report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), ad spend on the Internet grew to £1.75 billion.

According to the report, the Internet accounted for 23.5 percent of all spend, compared with 18.7 percent in the first half of 2008. Television accounted for 21.9 percent, press display for 18.5 percent and direct mail for 11.5 percent.

The shake-up in market share followed a 16.1 percent fall in television spend, and a more than 20 percent fall in press display, outdoor advertising and directories. Spend on press classified fell 37 percent. The report confirms the torrid time suffered by commercial media groups of late, such as free-to-air broadcasters, newspapers and radio, which rely on advertising and are now looking for alternative revenue streams.

ITV, Britainís biggest commercial free-to-air broadcaster, said net advertising revenue for the family of ITV channels fell 15 percent in the first half of the year. The IAB report said the Internet had avoided this slump, due to the strong demand for paid-for search on sites such as Google and resilience shown by classified online ads.

Britain remains the world leader in terms of market share for online advertising, due to the use of online networks to place advertising, the availability of fast and cheap broadband and the popularity of new formats such as video adverts.