OPA: Web Ad Spending Trails Consumption

NEW YORK Despite sharp increases in Internet ad spending, advertisers still spend far less of their budgets on the Web when compared to the time consumers spend online.

The Online Publishers Association, a trade group of Web publishers, published a study that found the Web accounts for 17 percent of media consumption, while advertisers are estimated to have earmarked 8 percent of consumer ad spending to Web media.

“There is still a misalignment if you look at the amount of time spent versus the budgets,” said Pam Horan, president of the OPA.

Increased broadband video penetration and new video advertising opportunities will hopefully close the gap, she predicted.

The OPA hired Ball State University to conduct the media-consumption research, which observed the media habits of 350 Indiana adults in spring 2005.

The Internet’s reach, topping 60 percent, trailed only TV (90 percent) and radio (70 percent). In terms of daily duration, the Web, at 108 minutes, trailed only TV and tied with radio, used by consumers for an average of nearly two hours. Watching TV still far outpaced Web use, with participants observed spending nearly four hours in front of the set.

TV’s sway is particularly strong in older demographics. Those over 50 spent, on average, over five hours watching TV daily, the study found.

Unsurprisingly, the Internet is the dominant medium during at-work hours. In a sign of the prevalence of media multitasking, the study found 16 percent of all Web usage occurs while watching TV.