The Inevitable Rise of Internet Marketing

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It’s become something of a cliché to apply the descriptive prefix “new” to all things technology-related, as in the new economy, or new media. Still, at the risk of sounding hackneyed, there does seem to be a conflict shaping between the “old” guard of media (newspapers, AM/FM radio, television, etc.) and tech-driven upstarts (including online news sites and bloggers, satellite or streaming radio, and iPods). And the latter seems to be holding all the cards: The new media includes platforms that are generally more dynamic and varied in their content, offers content that costs less to produce and is far less susceptible to regulation (for now).


Another major advantage—and this is crucial from a profitability perspective—is that the new media seems to be the preferred method of information and entertainment consumption for the young and hip, who spend everything and save nothing. Many advertising experts have already realized and come to terms with this, and are maneuvering accordingly. Hence, it was not a huge surprise for me when I read the cover story of the Business section of last Sunday’s edition of the Chicago Tribune (one of the few remaining old media offerings I truly enjoy), which compared spending on television and Web marketing.


According to that article, organizations spent a total of $14.3 billion on network television ads between January and August, a 2.5 percent decrease from the same period of the previous year. (Notably, that’s when the Super Bowl and the Oscars take place.) On the other hand, Internet ad spending went up 22.5 percent, rising from $6.9 billion between January and September of 2004 to $8.9 billion during that same span this year.


Does this mean the demise of the 30-second commercial spot? Hardly (though given the current TV ads out there, one can hardly be faulted for having a deathwish in this respect). What it does show, though, is the inevitability of the Internet becoming the centerpiece of marketing expenditures. It isn’t rocket science—all you have to do is follow the money. Sorry, TV: You had a good run, but your sun is setting.

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