Online overtakes TV advertising in the UK

Online advertising has overtaken TV advertising in the UK for the first time, with a record £1.75 billion spent on advertising in the first six months of 2009. Internet advertising in the UK now accounts for 23.5% of advertising expenditure, compared to just 21.9% for TV.

For comparison, when the Internet Advertising Bureau first measured online advertising in 1998, just £19.4 million was spent on advertising online.

Lindsey Clay, marketing director at UK TV marketing body, Thinkbox said the measurement is unfair, "It is interesting but meaningless to sweep all the money spent on every aspect of online marketing into one big figure and celebrate it. Online marketing spend is made up of many things, including email, classified ads, display ads (including online TV advertising) and, overwhelmingly, search marketing. They should be judged individually."

Chief executive of the IAB, Guy Phillipson, reckons there is still significant growth potential left in online advertising.

"We could absolutely see it grow to being a 30% medium [of share of ad spend], to go past £4bn to even £5bn annually," he said. "Online display advertising has plenty of room for growth."

Denmark was the first country to see Internet advertising expenditure exceed TV, although the UK is the first major economy to do so.

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