Online advertising expenditure in South Africa is forecast to exceed R183 million ($30.41m; €24.09m; £16.69m) in 2006, and reach the R200 million mark in 2007, reports the Online Publishers Association.

The forecasts come from the OPA's latest study, Online Media in South Africa 2005, conducted by World Wide Worx. The latest numbers indicate the nation's emergegence from the advertising slump of the decade's early years, says the OPA.

The report notes that it took the South African online publishing industry nine years, 1994-2003, to grow to the R60 million revenue mark, yet it is on course to treble that amount in the subsequent three years.

Says World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck: "It's looking very positive for online advertising - a medium that has finally come of age. But this phenomenal growth masks the fact that the numbers would be far higher if the advertising industry woke up to the potential of the medium."

The study reveals that lack of awareness within the traditional advertising industry of the efficiency, measurability and reach of online advertising has held back the growth of the medium. It also notes the need for advertisers and agencies to become better educated about online advertising.

Evangelizes general manager Robin Parker: "The education issue has bedevilled online for more than a decade - a time during which knowledge transfer should easily have taken place. In spite of this many advertisers have embraced the medium as a measurable and effective communications tool."

The OPA represents South Africa's twenty-five major online publishers. For more information on the latest study click here.

Data sourced from (South Africa); additional content by WARC staff