This year, for the first time, U.S. advertisers are spending more on Internet ads than on ads in newspapers.
The market research firm eMarketer says U.S. spending for online ads will total nearly $26 billion this year, compared to total spending of less than $23 billion on print advertising in newspapers.
Revenue for on-line ads has been rising for years as audiences leave traditional media and flock to web sources for news and entertainment. The research firm predicts the gap between Internet and newspaper advertising revenue will increase sharply next year.
Since advertising fees are pegged to audience size, declining readership figures for newspapers tend to accelerate the decline in their advertising income.
Newspapers also earn revenue from on-line advertising. That portion of their income grew by 7.8 percent this year, but was more than offset by a bigger decline in print advertising. The eMarketer firm estimated newspapers will finish 2010 with an overall decline in advertising income of 6.6 percent.
The industry monitor Advertising Age said the shifting trend in ad placements marks a new epoch in the advertising business, putting the Internet ahead of newspapers as the second-largest ad medium. Television advertising revenue still tops all other sectors.