Not a huge surprise at this point, but still worth noting: A major online publisher (name redacted for obvious reasons) tells us that ad sales are “very soft” at his shop and at his competitors’. He predicts that Q2 online sales at large online publishers will be “flat.”
What’s the problem? Last quarter we heard about pullbacks among financial/mortgage advertisers, as well as the auto sector. Now, our publisher source tells us, the problem is the “scatter” market — discretionary, on-the-fly ad buys.
We’ve been beating the drum about the prospects of an online slowdown for most of the last year. The counter-argument: An overall ad recession won’t bruise online, because marketers will shift money from expensive, hard-to-measure traditional media to cheap, trackable Web campaigns. We think that thesis makes sense — over the long haul. But in the near-term, the slowdown/recession/pick-your-noun isn’t going to magically spare the Web world.
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