Online news: Publishers see rise in Q2 ad revenue

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While the overall advertising sector remains in the dumps, some prominent Web publishers saw a second-quarter surge in ad revenue. Fourteen Online Publishers Association member sites saw a 34.2% rise over the same period in 2001, and a 33.5% rise year-to-date. Among Web properties reporting data to the OPA:, New York Times Digital's, Gannett's and Dow Jones & Co.'s Wall Street Journal Online.

But publishers declined to provide individual Q2 ad-revenue data. Second quarter 2001, and the rest of 2001 for that matter, were downright harsh. "It's kind of like comparing the abyss with the turnaround," said Adam Gerber, VP-director of media strategy, WPP Group's Digital Edge, New York. He is cautiously optimistic for the fourth quarter. "We're seeing an embracing of the online medium by brand advertisers, ad-unit sizes are increasing and clutter is reduced."

OPA members see the upward trend continuing in the third and fourth quarters. "We've seen strong campaigns from Microsoft and IBM and people are hearing that HP [Hewlett-Packard Co.] will be back [online] aggressively in the fourth quarter," said Randy Kilgore, executive director-advertising, Wall Street Journal Online.

Jeff Webber, senior VP-publisher,, said while 2002 has been tough, "Percentage-wise we're faring better than the newspaper. Part of it is that we're still a low-cost medium and we're demonstrating that we deliver an audience and impact."

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