Ad Sales at TV Sites Hits $1.1B in 2008

TVNEWSDAY, Apr 30 2009, 4:28 PM ET

Local online media grew 46 percent to $12.6 billion in 2008 and will shoot up another 3.9 percent this year to $13.1 billion, according to the seventh annual survey of the market from Borrell & Associates.

Sales at TV station-owned Web sites hit $1.1 billion in 2008, up 36 percent from 2007 and are poised to grow another 22.7 percent to $1.35 billion this year.

“At issue with TV sites is their reliance on one of the lowest-growth formats of interactive advertising — standard format display, banner and listing advertising,” the study says. “This caused a slippage in advertising market share in 2008, from 9.5 percent … in 2007 to 8.3 percent last year.”

In 2008, the local online market continued to be dominated by so-called pure plays Web companies with no old media ties — the likes of Google, Local.com, Interactive Corp., Marchex and ReachLocal. Altogether, they accounted for 47.6 percent of the market.

But for the first time since Borrell began tracking the market in 2001, the pure plays lost share to radio, directories and magazines. Their share was down 2.1 percent from last year.

Like TV station sites, newspaper-run sites also experienced a slight drop in share. Newspapers’ piece of the pie went from 26.9 precent to 26.4 percent.

Borrell attributes the sales gains of the legacy media sites to shoe leather. They have 98,000 salespeople on the street with existing relationships with local advertisers and can cross-sell online advertising products, the study says.

“And they are adding Internet-only sales reps at a rapid pace,” it says. “At the beginning of 2009, this sales force numbered about 9,000, up 30 percent from a year ago. At the risk of stating the obvious, more salespeople generally generate more sales,” the study says.

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