The Rosy Local Forecast

Local Internet advertisers are battening down the hatches in 2009, preparing for a harsh year ahead. But despite the tanking economy, local ad dollars in digital media will still rise in 2009, at least as far as Borrell Associates can see through its rose-colored glasses.

But Borrell doesn’t report all puppy dogs and rainbows. Spending will only rise by 8 percent, down from 47 percent growth this year in local Internet dollars. That means local media companies projecting big increases in interactive budgets may not meet those goals, says Gordon Borrell, CEO of the research firm, and the market for local Internet ads should hit $13.9 billion next year, up from $12.9 billion this year.

New entrants may have an easier road. “Next year is going to be a challenging one for media companies that have already seen aggressive growth, but easier for companies that have only just begun to tackle Internet sales,” Borrell said. His advice is to tackle the basics of selling Web banners, especially if a site has a lot of unsold inventory. “These ‘basics’ are very important in tough years.”

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