The milestone marks a watershed for the embattled TV industry, the leading ad medium in the UK for almost half a century. It has taken the internet little more than a decade to become the biggest advertising sector in the UK.
UK advertisers spent £1.75bn on internet advertising in the six months to the end of June, a 4.6% year-on-year increase, according to a report by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. To put this in perspective, in 1998, when the IAB first measured internet advertising, just £19.4m was spent online.
The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.
This may just be a blip caused by advertisers pushing for value for money and seeing online as the route. However long-term internet advertising will more than likely be the dominant form. The Guardian notes some of the problems faced by the industry:
Despite the seemingly inexorable rise of internet ad spend, a closer examination of the IAB’s figures show that the recession has had an impact. In the first quarter £920m was spent on online advertising, representing 8.6% year-on-year growth. However, in the second quarter, spend fell almost £100m to £832m, representing only a 1.1% increase on the amount spent in the same period last year.
Blip aside, this is of course a more worrying story for TV than a positive one for online and it is not wholly good for online either. It would be an easy time for online advocates to get carried away but it should be treated with caution. Especially considering the costs associated with TV production when compared to online and how much TV content is reproduced online with advertising running alongside it. Of course there is a possibility that when economic growth returns the TV spend won’t come along with it and this blip turns more permanent.
Awaiting the next figures with interest.
HT Laura McGann