Geoff Ramsey: Is Our Attention Less Fragmented Than Our Media Choices?

Yes. But just because each of us (using the average online user to stand in for “us”) can only take in 17 sites per week doesn’t mean we’re heading down a path of consolidated consumption with a few big sites that we all visit. It more likely means we all have our own 17 favorites, with some that overlap. There will be media consolidation from the ad-buying standpoint, but I’m guessing our “attention” has permanently fragmented.

Geoff’s other big point: The coming battle among online media companies will be for brand dollars. Yahoo’s had a bad year next to Google. But they’re much better positioned than Google to lead in the next phase of online advertising growth.

Here are some great stats and insights from his presentation at OMD last week (eMarketer):

–US online ad spending will be just shy of $16bn this year, $18.3bn next year and over $25bn in 2010. [Fifteen percent (15%) growth ain't bad!]

–In 2006, investment in online brand advertisng was up 26.8%, the same growth rate as online direct response. In 2005, brand spending grew 13.6% versus DR’s 41%. In 2008, brand spending will be up another 18.5% while DR will grow only 13.4%. [This is an important trend. Nearly every advertising start-up I can think of (FM excepted) is building a better mousetrap for direct response advertising in order to steal share from Google. Meanwhile Google is hiring traditional ad sales folks from the brand-advertising world, though Google's to-date attempts to break into brand dollars have yet to catch fire.]

–The big online news sources (Yahoo, MSNBC, AOL & CNN each have 10-16MM weekly visitors) reach more weekly readers than the big broadcast news sources have viewers (NBC, ABC, CBS each reach between 6-8MM viewers).

–The average US household has 94 channels, but viewers in that household watch only 15 per week. Online the phenomenon is more exaggerated: Tens of millions of sites, but the average online user visits only 17 per week.

–Video ad spending is forecast to be $385MM in 2006. This will grow to more than $2.3bn by 2010.

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