CMR: Web Ads Up From Last Year

The online advertising industry might appear bleak at present, but it actually is faring better than last year at this time, according to ad researcher CMR.

The New York-based firm, a unit of Taylor Nelson Sofres, said it found that Internet advertising revenues increased 1.9 percent, from $1.504 billion to $1.532 billion, during the first half of this year, versus a year earlier.

That signals momentum in the opposite direction from last year. CMR said full-year 2001 revenues declined 14.7 percent from 2000, from $2.83 billion to $2.5 billion.

The Internet’s upswing compares to a 0.2 percent drop over all forms of advertising, of which the Internet represented about 2.8 percent of total ad industry revenue.

“The health of the market is steadily coming back to life,” said CMR President and Chief Executive David Peeler. “Compared to the dramatic plummets in spending throughout the course of 2001, to be down by less that 1 percent in expenditures is a positive step in the right direction for ad recovery.”

The big winner thus far across all media has been Spanish-language network TV, which posted a whopping 26.7 percent gain over the first half of last year. Other increases were seen in network TV (4.2 percent), spot TV (4 percent), local newspapers (6.3 percent), radio (7.5 percent)

National newspapers, cable TV, outdoor, national syndication TV, consumer and B2B magazines all posted declines, CMR said.

In addition to the good news, the industry might also be on pace to meet earlier projections of a turnaround. In April, CMR estimated that the online ad industry this year would grow revenue by 5.3 percent from 2001’s total of $2.5 billion.

If that’s to be the case, Internet ad revenues would have to post only $1.1 billion in revenue for the balance of the year. That’s owing to the tremendous fall-off in advertising during fourth quarter of 2001, when the industry brought in a measly $400 million, according to CMR’s numbers.

Metrics on the online advertising space’s performance for some time have remained a hot issue — with different groups reporting different figures. Earlier this month, the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers — one of the other major sources for industry numbers — reported that Web ad sales dropped 6.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2001 to the first quarter of 2002, down to $1.55 billion. Figures from the IAB that take second quarter into account have yet to be released.

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