Global spending on online advertising will rise tenfold to $15 billion over the next five years, spurring widespread consolidation in the media industry.
This is the prediction of a new report from Forrester Research, which sees the highest growth coming from Europe. In this region, spending on online ads - mainly on the Web - will rise by more than 25 times, from $105 million this year to $2.8 billion in 2003.
This dwarfs the eightfold growth rate expected in the larger US market, which will take $10.5 billion in revenue in 2003, compared to $1.3 billion this year.
The European boom will stem from increased Internet usage - currently significantly lagging that in the US - greater competition from US entrants to the market, and maturing technologies.
Forrester expects slower growth in Asia-Pacific because of the ongoing economic crisis, but the region should reach revenue of $1.25 billion by 2003.
Outside the big three IT using regions, Latin America will also see dramatic growth despite its small Internet user base.
"The Internet has arrived as an accepted advertising medium," said Bill Bass, co-author of the report. "We see the arrival of large mainstream advertisers. The next challenge facing media companies will be developing the revenue opportunities presented by a growing international market."
Meeting this challenge will put pressure on media providers to consolidate to gain market weight and Forrester expects to see a wave of takeovers, as well as partnerships between publishers and portal sites or ecommerce sites.
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