In U.K., Web Ad Sales Surpass TV

In the United Kingdom, media consumers who want to avoid being overwhelmed by advertisements only need to turn on their televisions. TV, after all, isn't the major pipeline for exposing ads to British shoppers any more.

New figures from the first six months of 2009 show that advertising on the Web has overtaken TV ads in the U.K. and has become the largest medium for commercials, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau and Pricewaterhouse Coopers show that sales for Internet ads increased 4.6 percent from the first half of 2008 to $2.78 billion, earning the medium a market share of 23.5 percent. Sales of TV commercials declined 16.1 percent to $2.63 billion, reducing it to the No. 2 spot with a market share of 21.9 percent.

Analyst Ian Maude of Enders Analysis told the Journal that the British Broadcasting Corp., which is commercial free, contributed to the trend. But he said the growth of online shopping also helped the increase in online ad sales.

"TV maintains its role as the big daddy of display advertising, but the main driver of Internet advertising in the U.K. has been search and particularly Google Inc.," he told the Journal.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for