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Multiplatform Local Advertising is the Present

Perhaps one of the most underperforming sectors in today's media universe is local Internet advertising. Consumers make 80 percent of their purchases near their homes, yet locally focused Websites and search engines are surprisingly underdeveloped.

That's because TV stations and newspapers � which are best positioned to build local Web businesses with their stockpiles of local content and advertiser relationships � have so far been half hearted about Websites.

But this is changing fast, which has big implications for ad spend forecasts. A day-long Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) marketing conference in New York City hammered the message to 1,000 assembled TV executives that stations need to develop new media platforms � particularly city-focused Websites � because advertisers that make local TV ad buys (a slow-growing $21.5 billion business in 2005 according to Kagan Research) are demanding interlocking new-media ads. "Multiplatform is not the future," TVB president Chris Rohrs told the conference. "It's the present."

The sudden Web expansion push by TV stations and newspapers to the Internet will be a catalyst for a new wave of Internet ad spending �new money � from small local advertisers that today find TV and radio too expensive. City-focused Websites and niche digital TV channels will offer cheaper ads reaching tightly focused demographics. While that will be a local phenomenon, it might create a second wind for total Internet advertising by kicking in just as national growth is decelerating.

Kagan Research estimates that Internet advertising achieved a startling 57 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 1996-2005, versus CAGR of just 4.8 percent for advertising overall.

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