Online Ad Spending Down, But Hope Ahead

Media Life looks into the PricewaterhouseCoopers report on Internet ad spending.

For the first time since 2002, during the last ad recession, internet ad spending took a dip, if a modest one, falling 5 percent over the first quarter of 2009 versus first-quarter 2008, to $5.5 billion from $5.8 billion for the year-earlier period.

What makes the online decline somewhat surprising is that so many had come to think that the internet had become so strong as an ad medium that it was impervious to declines.

Indeed, many forecasters had expected to see continued strong growth this year, some in the double digits. The thinking was that the internet would continue to see gains as advertisers switched their spending from higher-cost media, such as magazines and newspapers. If anything, the recession stood to speed up that process.

The glimmer? Media Life says forecasters they’ve talked to are saying conditions should begin improving as early as late summer.