Two big online publishers, Forbes.com CEO Jim Spanfeller and Weather Channel general manager Paul Iaffaldano, tell Mediaweek they see weak online ad sales in Q1. Spanfeller says Forbes’ sales are fine, but he’s “hearing” that others’ are soft. Iaffaldano says The Weather Channel had a bad January , but things rebounded in February and March.
Possible culprits: Spanfeller points to the credit/mortgage crisis, and both execs say ad networks may be taking display-ad share from traditional players. Neither comes out and says there’s a recession that is affecting ad spending across the board.
Meanwhile Jeff Ratner, director of interactive media for ad buyer MindShare tells us that while the mortgage slowdown and ad network impact on big publishers is real, he sees no Q1 pullback in ad budgets. “There has been a bit of a share-shift, and portals are taking a hit and some discount mortgage guys might be out of the market right now, but it hasn’t affected larger clients,” he said.
He says non-discount mortgage financial, packaged goods, and pharmaceuticals have all been strong categories.
Q4 online advertising was up 13% y/y to $5.9 billion, significantly lower than full-year 2007 increase of 25% from 2006, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.