SYDNEY: Aegis Group ceo Robert Lerwill predicts Australian online advertising has plenty of steam left to power continued growth. Domestic observers, however, believe the sector will slow during 2007.

The media agency conglomerate's head honcho, speaking during a recent visit to Oz, said the country's A$11 billion ($8.5bn; €6.6bn; £4.3bn) ad industry had to double the amount it spent online to start catching up with the US and most of Europe.

He said: "Digital organic growth across the world is probably 25%-30% per cent and in some markets, particularly Australia, it's higher."

He added: "But Australia still has quite a bit of catch-up to do. Total [internet] advertising share here is mid-single digits while in parts of Europe and the UK it's 12%-13% per cent already. In the US it's over 10%."

The head of the London-headquartered group was bullish about the prospect of digital growth worldwide.

He cited figures of 20 hours a week spent watching television [per person] with TV getting 40% of adspend. He added: "Twenty hours a week is also spent on the internet and it gets 5% of total spend. So directionally, more is now going to get spent on digital and the internet."

The group, whose stable includes Carat, says it is already generating 20% of its total media revenues from digital and online activities.

Lerwill opined: "Last year on a worldwide basis for the [marketing services] industry, only 5% of revenues came from digital. But that 5% will change and change very quickly."

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff