Internet to outgun TV in U.K.

Online to be biggest medium in advertising

The Internet is poised to replace TV as Blighty’s biggest advertising medium by the end of next year.

In three years, online spend has increased by £2 billion ($3.96 billion), according to a report published by the Internet Advertising Bureau, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Center.

In 2007, online ad expenditure represented 15.3% of the overall ad spend, up 11.4% on 2006. Last year, U.K. online revenues reached $5.54 billion.

IAB chief exec Guy Phillipson said: “With broadband speeds on the up and consumers spending more time on more sites, the outlook for online advertising is rosy — in fact, we expect it to overtake TV in 2009, when it will become the U.K.’s biggest medium.”

The emergence of TV catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer and Channel 4’s on-demand service 40D was helping to drive people to the Web and making people feel more at home watching video online, according to the report.

Social networking sites such as MySpace and Bebo continue to have a massive impact on the market, especially as an audience driver, said the report’s authors.

Ad spend for this sector of the market was relatively low last year but looks set to grow steadily in the years ahead.

“We’ve seen high-profile acquisitions, mergers, a rise in social media and online video and higher-than-ever usage of the Internet,” said Nicki Lynas, senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers entertainment and media practice. “These ad spend figures are proof that Internet advertising is big business, and it’s not going to stop growing anytime soon.”

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