Media watchdog eMarketer says this is the year that advertising money spent online will eclipse that spent on radio, and it charts a trajectory that has online revenues almost doubling radio’s total by 2011. In 2006, according to eMarketer, radio won the duel 20.1B to 16.9B, but online will edge into the lead this year, 21.7B to 20.5B. It’s not that radio won’t continue to grow – eMarket labels the growth "modest" but it is growth, with annual totals of 21.1B, 21.6B, 22.2B and finally 22.8B in 2011. Meanwhile, online’s arrow is pointed steeply upward, with projected results of 28.2B, 34B, 39B and 44B in 2011. eMarker’s Ben Macklin pointed out that online’s growth is not coming out of radio’s hide, and that it is in fact complementary to online advertising and needs to do a better job exploiting its online connection, as he says newspaper and television have done. "Advertisers should not abandon radio in favor of the web," he said, "but combine the two to take advantage of the unique attributes of each."
RBR/TVBR observation: We’ll believe these projections when we see them, but it would be foolish not to assume a continued steep growth vector for a medium as versatile and ubiquitous as the worldwide web. Any business that does not have an appropriate web presence, whether it’s a car dealership, donut shop or radio station, is at best missing an opportunity and at worst signing paving its own road to obsolescence.