This year, for the first time, advertisers will have spent more on Internet ads than on print newspaper ads, according to new estimates from eMarketer.

The digital-marketing research firm says U.S. spending on online ads will hit $25.8 billion, surpassing the $22.8 billion spent on print ads in newspapers.

The eclipse has been on the horizon for years as consumers have migrated en masse to the Internet, where there are many more options for news, and where newspaper publishers can’t charge nearly as much for ads as they can in print. So even while the total audience for many newspapers has grown, they have been unable to stem revenue declines.

“It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point,” says Geoff Ramsey, the chief executive of eMarketer.

It isn’t just that newspapers are facing fiercer competition from the Web. Recently released findings by Forrester Research show that U.S. consumers, on average, now spend as much time online as they do watching television. But they aren’t spending less time in front of their TVs. What they are doing less of is listening to the radio and reading newspapers and magazines offline, Forrester says.

While total ad spending in the U.S. is expected to rise 3% this year to $168.5 billion, eMarketer estimates spending on print ads in newspapers will decline 8.2% in 2010, to be followed by a 6% decline in 2011.

via Online Ads Pull Ahead of Newspapers – WSJ.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta