Down the Tube

If you believe GroupM, the sky is definitely falling — on television advertising in the United Kingdom. However, TV executives in the United States don’t have as much to fear. The media agency predicted in early January that online ad spending will overtake TV ad spending in the UK in 2009, a switcheroo that’s not even on most charts yet for the United States.

At the end of this year the Internet will claim 24.8 percent of UK media dollars with TV snagging 26 percent, GroupM said. But with online revenues projected to grow by 30.8 percent this year, the Internet should pull ahead of TV in 2009, making the UK the first major economy to see the Internet outpace the tube. But eMarketer says 2010 is the more likely year for the changing of the guard in the UK.

Britain is unique though, eMarketer senior analyst Karin von Abrams says. The country boasts a healthy print advertising business, a hearty Web one and a strong public broadcaster in the BBC. 

While growth rates for the Internet are higher than TV in the United States, TV dollars will remain in the lead for some time. Even in 2011, eMarketer said U.S. television ad spending will add up to nearly $86 billion, while $35 billion will flow online.

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