U.K. Online Ad Spend Edges Out Radio

Online advertising spending grabbed more market share than radio in the United Kingdom for the first time in 2004, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The figures represent an update from preliminary research released by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) late last month.

Overall, marketers spent $1.2 billion (£653.3 million) on online ads, an increase of 60 percent from 2003. That spending level pushed online to represent 3.9 percent of the market, as compared with radio’s 3.8 percent.

“Radio and the Internet, at the moment, are about neck and neck,” said Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB UK. “Radio is flattening out somewhat, and, with the Internet, more and more people are going online. That’s the currency that the market is actually looking at, I think.”

The second half of 2004 saw the greatest growth since the IAB UK began tracking spending, with marketers spending £95 million more in Q3 and Q4 than they did in the first half of the year. All together, they spent $701 million (£373.8 million) in the second half of 2004.

Phillipson credited factors such as more time spent online and the growth of broadband for the leap.

“The marketers are following their audiences,” he said. “Their audiences are shifting online, perhaps spending less time on television and more time on broadband.”

The IAB UK measures spending on all online advertising, including display, rich media, paid search, sponsorships, and classifieds. The organization plans to release figures breaking spending down by category and format within the next few weeks.

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