Online Ad Revenues up 46% at Top Publishers

By: Carl Sullivan

A poll of 26 media companies that are members of the Online Publishers Association (OPA) finds that third quarter online advertising revenues grew an average of 45.9% over Q3 2002. Year-to-date revenues increased 38.2% over the same period last year.

OPA Executive Director Michael Zimbalist made a point Thursday of emphasizing that all this growth can’t be attributed to paid search alone. “Search is only part of the online advertising recovery,” he said during an OPA presentation in New York. Advertising-sponsored search listings are more popular than ever on Google, Yahoo and other sites. Many newspaper sites also offer the paid links through revenue-sharing partnerships with Google and other companies. But more importantly, Zimbalist said OPA members are snagging a greater share of brand advertising dollars.

The New York-based OPA also released selected financial highlights from companies that participated in the poll.

Belo Interactive of Dallas reported compound annual revenue growth of 33% since 2000, with targeted advertising revenues jumping from 6% of total revenue in 2002 to an expected 25% in 2004.

San Jose, Calif.-based Knight Ridder Digital had its best quarter ever in Q3, with revenues of $21.5 million and operating income of $5.4 million.

New York Times Digital said year-to-date advertising revenue is up 29% from the same period in 2002. The group has been profitable for nine consecutive quarters.

Tribune Interactive reported Q3 revenues of $25 million, up 24% from the year-ago period.

The Wall Street Journal Online recorded a 40% increase in advertising sales from Q3 2002 to the same quarter this year.

Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive said national and local advertising revenue rose 143% from the first nine months of 2001 to the same period in 2003.

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