UK internet growth outstrips that of Europe, claims Britain's Interactive Advertising Bureau in a new report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report pictures the UK online ad industry as the fastest growing advertising medium in history, also accelerating at a faster than its European counterparts such as Germany, France and Italy.

Claimed to be the first definitive report on web adspend, it reveals actual expenditure figures submitted directly in company accounts to PwC by media owners and advertising agencies across Europe. PwC then aggregated national expenditure data to compile a comprehensive picture of online advertising across IAB member states.

The study portrays itself as the first credible source of data on web advertising spend, being based on verified expenditure rather than estimates, software spiders, macro-economic projections or rate cards values.

In its analysis of online advertising expenditure between 1998 and 2000 across Europe’s national markets, PwC reveals that the UK has experienced rapid growth since records began in 1997. Together with France and Germany it leads the growth of online advertising across Europe.

Total online adspend for all participating European member states in 2000 was £1.2 billion – an increase of over 700% on a the £164 million spent in 1999.

The UK still outspends other European nations in online advertising. Between 1999 and 2000 the UK grew by 135% to £209 million – £39 million more than it closest rival, France at £170 million. German figures – from research company Prognos – show the nation’s market to be £165 million in 2000.

Compared to other media channels, online has gown faster than any other medium at any time in history, the report claims [without attributing a basis for this]. With the growing network of IAB organisations setting up across Europe, this research is now being extended into other European markets to give a more complete picture.

According to PWC senior manager Paul Pilkington: “By the end of 2000, internet advertising had reached a size comparable with cinema advertising, and in Europe the medium had shown continuous year-on-year growth despite adverse conditions in the wider advertising market.”

Adds IAB’s UK chairman Danny Meadows-Klue: “This is the first time there has ever been a true picture of the market. These are real francs, lire, marks and pounds as recorded by the finance teams in all of the companies. No other report has access to this aggregated expenditure figures that are now being used across Europe as the key barometer for the market ... online advertising is in better shape than some forecasters and pundits give it credit for.”

At the end of October the IAB will publish an updated study revealing the online advertising industry’s performance in H1 2001.

News source: Interactive Advertising Bureau