Online ad spend tops C$1 billion

Table: Interactive Advertising Bureau [Canada]

Online advertising brought Canadian publishers just over $1 billion in 2006, according to an annual survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau released today. That’s an increase of 80% over 2005 revenues. The survey is based on revenue data supplied by the 87 largest online publishers.

The biggest increase [120%] was in classified and directory advertising which now accounts for over one quarter of the online ad spend.

Search and email advertising each rose by about 80%, and continue to account for 35% and 2% respectively of all online advertising.

The gain in classified and directory revenue came at the expense of the “mature” display ad category which, despite rising 58%, now accounts for only 36% of total ad revenue, down from 41% in 2005.

Graph: Interactive Advertising Bureau [Canada]

The IAB cites several reasons for the strong 2006 results, including:

  • revenue growth across Canadian and US networks selling Canadian “eyeballs”
  • more integrated campaigns
  • more new, blue-chip, advertisters entering the online market
  • more advertising choices for search
  • uptake of rich media ad formats and video “pre-roll” advertising

The IAB projects growth in online ad revenue during 2007 of 32%.

Online advertising, although growing quickly, accounted for about eight per cent of the approximately total advertising expenditure in 2006 [1.01 billion out of an estimated $12 billion].

Marketing budgets up, internet gets biggest increase

One in five Canadian companies increased its marketing and communications budget in the first quarter of this year, according to a survey of 270 companies released today.

The ICA-CanadaPost survey found that:

Budget increases were commonly linked to improved corporate performance, with higher sales revenues and solid demand encouraging firms to boost marketing spend higher than had been initially budgeted for at the start of the year. However, the Q1 survey also saw a rise in the number of other companies boosting spend (especially on sales promotions) in order to stimulate weaker-than-anticipated sales.

The category most-often named by companies as getting an increase in expenditure was the internet. Twenty-seven per cent of the firms surveyed are spending more online than they originally planned. “Main media” was the next most common target for additional funding, cited by 22 per cent of companies.

NY Times and SP Times dominate SND awards

Dim view from a crowded jail 

Seven works of multimedia journalism have been honoured with awards from the Society of News Design.

Dim view from a crowded jail (picture above), produced for tampabay.com by the St Petersburg Times, was recognized for bringing together “photos, statistics, and the voices of inmates and guards”.

Judges cited the reporter’s first-person soundslide on being inside in such crowded conditions. “The package was interesting, well done, easy to navigate and full of interesting information arranged intuitively.”

Another winner that I particularly liked was the New York Times’ interactive graphic depicting how often various words were used in each of the US presidential State of the Union speeches from 2001 to 2007. Try comparing “terror” or “Iraq” with “environment” or “climate change”.

The New York Times won three awards in all, and the St Petersburg Times won two. The Philadelphia Inquirer and teen-focused Channel One each had one winner.

It would be good to see the awards spread more widely. So, multimedia journalists: here’s how to enter your work for the next SND.ies.

The news business, 60 years ago

What could a high school student in the 1940s expect from a career in journalism?

Well, according to this vocational counselling film, blatant sexual discrimination.

That’s right, male journalists might as well forget about ever being allowed to write for the society pages, childcare stories, or home and garden sections.

Of course, women couldn’t write for any of the other areas in a newspaper.

– Hat tip: Roy Greenslade

New look for ABCNews.com

ABCNews.com 1.40pm EDT April 29, 2007 

ABCNews.com has a new look and a stronger emphasis on soliciting content from its readers.

The redesigned site, which was launched late yesterday, appears less clutterered than its predecessor [e.g. small icons now replace the headline tags “Video”, “Story” and “Vote”].

But more significantly, the new site distinguishes itself from its TV network competitors by having a front page that fits within a single screen view. That’s right, no vertical scrolling, even at resolutions as low as 1152 x 864. The page width is 1024 pixels, which is fast-becoming the standard for news sites [NBC is the only major American network still running an 800 pixel front page].

At first, I was impressed that ABCNews had achieved this, but all that content had to be accommodated somewhere, didn’t it? And, sure enough, there are two scroll boxes within the front page. I think there are two risks to this approach: readers may find multiple scroll-boxes more of a nuisance than scrolling the entire page, and scroll-bars within a page may not be as noticeable to the reader, leaving them to conclude that what they were looking for isn’t available at ABCNews.

Continue reading

Forbes’ org chart wiki off to bumpy start

Business website Forbes.com has launched a Corporate Org Chart wiki, in what it describes as an “early beta” version.

The idea is that readers will share their knowledge of how real companies are structured.

But already the charts have fallen victim to pranksters inputting nonsense, and to fundamental errors in what might be well-intentioned contributions.

For example, the Apple Computer org chart makes no mention of co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, but instead shows Eric Schmidt at the top. Schmidt is, of course, CEO of Google.

It will be interesting to see whether the wiki process succeeds in correcting errors and weeding out the pranks. But right now, it’s a mess, and that’s in spite of the fact that Forbes.com requires user registration and is targeted at business professionals.

New Chair at CBC

The Government has appointed Timothy Casgrain to be the new Chair of the CBC, replacing author Guy Fournier who resigned last year after he spoke at length about bowel movements during an interview (of course you remember).

Casgrain is currently Chair of aviation company Skyservice Investments Inc.

Canadian Journalist picks up the story.

Buying the war

Bill Moyers Journal - Buying the War

PBS correspondent Bill Moyers launched his new series Bill Moyers Journal this evening, and promptly launched into the media for helping Americans “buy” the invasion of Iraq. [The full 90-minute program can be viewed online.]

Moyers interviewed several journalists, including some of the few he says seriously questioned the merits of invading a country which had not attacked the United States. It all seems to point to a decline in the quality of journalism, particularly a reduction in investigative reporting as publishers and networks cut costs to maximize profits.

Tom Shales at washingtonpost.com calls this evening’s Journal “one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling”.

It’s always depressing to learn that you’ve been had, but incalculably more so when the deception has resulted in thousands of Americans dying in the Iraq war effort.

And for even more depression, try reading Naomi Wolf’s commentary at guardian.co.uk: Fascist America, in ten easy steps, which compares the curtailment of civil rights and concentration of presidential power under George W. Bush, with the precursors of fascism in Europe of the 1930s.

Wikipedia draws 8% of US online adults daily

Top educational and reference sites, week of March 17, 2007

On a typical day, eight per cent of online Americans consult the user-generated encyclopedia Wikipedia, according to a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Now, the headline finding of the report is that “36% or Americans consult Wikipedia”. But that’s not a very useful figure, since the question put to people was simply: “Do you ever use the internet to look for information on Wikipedia?” No time frame is given, so those who answered in the affirmative may have only used the site once, for all we know.

Continue reading