Earnings: Hi-Media Sees Online Advertising Market Slowdown; Could It Spread?

This story was written by Robert Andrews.
Could the impending advertising recession actually spread to online? Though many in web ads and publishing confidently predict a continuing "big flood of money coming out of traditional media" (that's FT.com's MD, speaking to me last month), French online advertising and publishing group Hi-Media says there is, in fact, an "online advertising market slowdown".

It noted a slowdown in its own ad sales, at least, in today's earnings for the first half of the year, though they still grew 17 percent year-on-year to 30.4 million ($47.9 million). But Hi-Media is talking like the problem is not just its own, showing a chronic pessimism about what is now a "much more difficult environment" for web ads.

It called its own online sales performance merely "satisfactory in the context of an online advertising market slowdown" and is concentrating on its activities in micro-payments (up 32 percent to another 30.4 million on more international deals), with which it added payment features to the Fotolog photo site it bought last year, allowing it to triple Fotolog sales to $2.5 million. Hi-Media also publishes content sites like JeuxVideo.com, ActuStar.com and blogs under the Blogorama banner. Release.

By Robert Andrews