The good news – online advertising grew 11% in Q3 2008 over 2007, going from $5.2B to $5.9B in total revenue. The bad news – that is less than half the growth rate it enjoyed from Q3 2006 to 2007, and even that was a slipped result. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the latest 11% comp follows comps of 25% and 33%, working back. And the pattern holds upYTD, up13.8% over 2007 after 2007 beat 2006 by 26%. IAB also notes that Q3 results were essentially flat compared to the other two 2008 quarters.
RBR/TVBR observation: It is normal for brand new hot media to experience exponential growth as they approach maturity. This sudden application of brakes has got to be alarming. However, many broadcasters were predicting that there would be widepread sampling of interactive, followed by disenchantment and a return to broadcasting. Is that what’s happening? It’d be nice, wouldn’t it. But we think it’s just a really bad economy.