The flip comes as no surprise, as analysts have forecast Internet passing radio in 2007 for several years on the strength of Internet's meteoric growth (15.9% from 2006-2007), and radio's woes, with the medium apparently suffering a secular downturn just as the overall U.S. economy may be headed for a recession.
Indeed, the overall picture painted by TNS was not a happy one for most traditional media, as total spending edged up just 0.2% for the year. TNS' earlier predictions of 2.6% growth in 2007 proved too optimistic, as marketing budgets were undermined by the softening economy in the second half of the year.
Particularly hard-hit were newspapers, where revenues fell 5.6% to about $26.4 billion; network television, down 2% to $22.4 billion; and spot television, down 10.2% to $15.6 billion, in large part because of a lack of political advertising and Olympics. The declines in the two television categories resulted in an overall decline for television of 1.7% to $64.4 billion, despite a 6.5% increase for cable. Outdoor grew about 4.9%, to just over $4 billion.