Online advertising will will exceed print spending in 2012 for the first time, eMarketer now predicts.
U.S. online ad spending will grow by 23.3 percent in 2012, eMarketer projects, to $39.5 billion. It expects print advertising to reach $33.8 billion in sales, down from $36 billion in 2011. The shift has been a long time coming, and represents a key watershed for the media business.
Where a rational observer might have argued that online was a subsidiary medium, with print being primary, the crossover point now has been reached. One might now argue that online media are primary, and print is secondary.
At least in part, though, the shift is powered by growing digital revenues for former print publishers. Newspapers in 2012 will continue to be a bright spot.
Researchers at eMarketer forecast that digital ad revenues for newspapers will grow 11.4 percent to $3.7 billion, after rising 8.3 percent to $3.3 billion last year.
At the same time, print advertising revenues at newspapers will fall percent to $19.4 billion in 2012, after dipping 9.3 percent to $20.7 billion last year.