Borrell: Local Online Ads up 31.6%

My former colleagues at Borrell Associates have carved out a unique role in the local online advertising space with their annual survey of local media revenues. This year is the survey’s fifth, and was conducted with 2,885 properties in the U.S. and Canada – if you can imagine the leg work. Borrell is confident that the tally is large enough to project newspaper and TV station online revs, and model the rest.

What Borrell found was cumulative local online revenues of $7.5 billion, with 31.6 percent growth (compared with 20.7 percent for national online advertising). Within the local ecosystem, newspapers account for 35.9 percent – which is down, percentage wise, by several points. Pure-play Internet companies have 33.2 percent, and Yellow Pages have 11.7 percent. It should be noted that Yellow Pages are not a Borrell focus and were among those that were modeled, rather than included in the survey.

Other local revs come from “Other Print,” including shoppers and other local magazines, which have 9.2 percent; TV stations, which have 7.7 percent; and radio stations, which have 2.2 percent.

In their analysis, Borrell sees local online as beginning to mature, as the days of easy online growth from upsells come to an end. While slowing, revenues should continue their upward climb due to more unique, online-only accounts and the hiring of more online-only salespeople. Dedicated, online-only sales people were up 26 percent in 2006, and Borrell sees budgets for an additional 35 percent in 2007.

“Some of the largest local sites are now employing two dozen or more online-only salespeople as they migrate from the up-sell model and begin to fully embrace Web-only sales,” says Borrell. “The median gross revenue per online-only salesperson was $278,570; the largest sites were seeing triple that rate.”

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