Big Branded Publishers Report Ad Revenue Boom

Some of the most well known online publishers are reporting an average of 32 percent revenue growth in the first three quarters of 2003, as compared to the same period in 2002. The booming growth numbers come from an Online Publishers Association (OPA) survey of 26 of its member companies.

The OPA also found that third-quarter ad revenue for this group was up an average of 46 percent over the year-ago period.

The findings look promising for online advertising’s recovery, but they aren’t representative of the industry as a whole. It’s not clear whether the group of respondents was self-selected or selected by the Online Publishers Association, which has a vested interest in painting a rosy picture of the space.

Participating publishers include some of the best known media companies in the U.S., including the online arms of traditional newspaper or broadcast companies. Among those surveyed were New York Times Digital, the Wall Street Journal Online, ESPN.com, CBS MarketWatch, MSNBC.com and Slate.

“While the success of paid search is certainly contributing to the online advertising recovery, it is only part of the story,” said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the OPA. Zimbalist added that the figures show the ad dollars are going to the quality content sites with trusted brand names.

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