Internet advertising revenues jumped 240 percent in 1997 to $906.5 million, and if the fourth-quarter rate holds, the industry is on track to generate more than $1 billion in sales this year, according to a new report by the Internet Advertising Bureau and Coopers & Lybrand’s New Media Group.
“Overall, 1997 was a milestone year in terms of the Web being established as an advertising medium,” said IAB Chairman Rich LeFurgy. Revenues totaled $335.5 million for the fourth quarter of 1997, up from $227.1 million in the third, the study shows. Spending was $82 million in October, $108 million in November and $146 million in December.
“It is, in fact, becoming a real medium as evidenced by the patterns,” said Pete Petrusky, director of the new media group at Coopers & Lybrand.
In addition to the numbers, the Internet ad industry’s growing strength can be measured by a seasonality in revenue trends, mirroring traditional media, which was seen for the first time last year. LeFurgy said spending for Net advertising should become a standard part of the media mix.
“We don’t want this to be thought of as new media,” he said. “We want it to be thought of as online media.”
Petrusky said the money is being spread more evenly from the top companies down. “The dollars are going deeper,” he said. “It’s more in line with traditional media characteristics.”
— Adrienne Mand
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