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The Web passes newspapers in ad spending for first time

Advertisers will spend more on internet ads in 2010 than newspaper ads for the first time, according to new estimates by eMarketer. Online ad spending will grow 13.9% to $25.8 billion for the full year in 2010, while advertisers are expected to spend just $22.78 billion on print newspaper ads this year, down 8.2% from 2009, eMarketer estimates.

Total newspaper ad revenues from print and online ads are expected to hit $25.7 billion this year, still shy of the $25.8 billion advertisers will spend on internet ads.

"Marketers are devoting bigger shares of their budgets to digital media as they see more customers shifting time toward the web," said Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer. "It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point."

Increased consumer use of the Web isn’t the only reason marketers are putting more dollars online, he added.

"The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising," Mr. Ramsey said. "Online ads, especially search ads, are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result."

While total ad spending in the US is expected to bounce back for the full year, growing 3% in 2010 to $168.5 billion, newspaper spending is expected to continue its decline next year. eMarketer estimates that print newspaper ad spending will slide to $21.4 billion in 2011, down 6% from 2010. On the other hand, online ad spending is expected to grow 10.5% in 2011 to reach $28.5 billion.