March 29, 2007 |
Research by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that an “advertising surge in 2006” on the Web in the UK pushed the net sum spent for ad space past that of national newspapers as a whole, reports the BBC. Online placements made up 12.4% of the United Kingdom’s total market. In total, advertisers purchased 2.01 billion pounds of advert space on the Web.
What does this show? It shows that everything from the online version of The Register to the many Web-only startups in existence are gaining a greater financial foothold, legitimizing Web 2.0 in terms of mainstream investment appeal. The digital halves of the UK’s newspapers (really the world’s in general) are attracting advertisers more often than the ink-and-paper sides of those businesses. And it also shows that advertisers are looking to buy more spots on influential blogs than areas upon the tangible pages in the many dailies and weeklies still in circulation.
There’s a lot of good to come from the news, but there’s some bad sides to it as well. First the negatives.
Ad space online, while very popular today, is worth less “per square inch” than the spaces inside, say, The Financial Times. That means that in order to surpass newspaper ad revenue, websites must showcase more ads in more places than a conventional newspaper could sustain (without completely selling out) just to reach the financial figures it’s recorded in the past. This disparity will change with time, but even if newspapers are noting fantastic numbers for daily, weekly, monthly visitorship online, they’re still not generating ad revenue equal to the spots sold inside the printed version.
That means newspapers generate less income overall. Less income portends a future of fewer staff, and eventually degradation in the quality of news reports, features, etc. No one has the desire to see that, so hopefully the gap between the price of online ads and print ads will close – quickly.
The good to come from the online advertising surge of 2006 (we presume it continues, too) is, like we said, greater recognition for blogs, online magazines, and, yes, online newspapers. As everything is clearly moving over to the Web, new multimedia will thrive in the coming years along with the development of innovative ways for information delivery to local, national, and global audiences. We’re in for a lot of great stuff, particularly when it comes to inclusiveness. The polish we’re seeing at a lot of online destinations is a joy, too.
Blogs will continue to sprout, but the famous (and sometimes infamous) few will continue to stand out more and more, and fewer and fewer casual and private bloggers will want to maintain their logs. They’ll “close shop,” and spend time reading the work of others and conversing in well-known forums where they’ll feel their voices actually being heard. There will remain plenty of blogs of the personal type, but their number will decrease tremendously from where it is today. (The number is still growing.) As the notables rise to the top, they’ll grab the interest of marketers and other entities and establish business. Some of the most enterprising of the bunch will form networks and purchase other spaces they view as valuable. Given enough time, we’ll see several such groups break apart or shut down because of financial constraints.
These events follow a cyclical pattern. This “weeding” of the best (and sometimes not the best) from the pack has been done before. Only, the scope this time around is bigger, a.k.a., more sources of information. There’ll be a bigger head, and a longer tail. And this time around the entire world will be in on the experiment. It’ll be fun to watch, if only because we’ve been around to see what has become of the online media from the start.