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Online ad revenues hit record high, up 11.3% over last year, group says

October 12, 2010 |  2:33 pm

Iab Money from Internet advertising had slowed to anemic levels during the recession, with many asking if digital ad money would ever grow fast enough to offset precipitous drops in print ad profits.

Now optimists and pessimists alike have more to be hopeful about.

Online ad sales for the first six months of 2010 are up 11.3% over last year -- to $12.1 billion -- according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, an industry group representing more than 400 online ad companies. That's the highest total the IAB has ever recorded. 

One of the growth areas was the closely watched sector of display advertising -- the largely visual ad type that includes banners, videos and animations.  Display revenue rose close to 16% over last year, the group said.

“Consumers’ appetite for immersive online experiences is limitless as technological innovation and creativity give rise to new forms of entertainment and information in the digital age,” said IAB Chief Executive Randall Rothenberg in a statement. “This report highlights marketers’ ongoing adoption of interactive media to build brands -- and that’s only going to continue.”

Still, the $12 billion includes online revenue for many kinds of commercial websites across the Internet -- not just media or newspaper sites. 

For the sake of comparison, in 2009 the newspaper industry made more than $24 billion in print advertising, according to figures from the Newspaper Assn. of America. That was a 30% drop from 2008, and a 50% drop from 2000, when the number was $48 billion. 

So pessimists need not despair just yet...

-- David Sarno

Photo: Howard Lake via Flickr