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Ad spending in non-tech industries grew faster than any other categories, according to InterMedia Advertising Solutions, which today releases its "InterWatch" report. Spending for medicines and proprietary remedies was $7.9 million (up 386.5% from '97), $12.8 million for governments and organizations (up 328.6%) and $35.8 million for retail (up 235.6%).

While computers and software companies continue to dominate -- Microsoft Corp. was No. 1 with $34.8 million in '98 online spending -- its overall share of spending slipped to 44.7% from 50.5% in 1997.

Joe Philport, president of IAS, said he sees three generations of online businesses: high-tech companies, e-commerce retailers and service providers, and a third wave of companies that have information-rich messages to express, such as pharmaceutical companies. "These companies didn't make a big investment on the Web until '98," Mr. Philport said. But "as they begin to understand it, they've moved into it very aggressively."

Ad spending in 1998 topped $1 billion, according to InterMedia. The Internet Advertising Bureau recently released its figures showing spending in 1998 at

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