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Dot-Com Retailers Make Ad Comeback

Despite the loud death knell clanged for the prodigal dot-com advertisers this quarter, several ad sales executives last week reported the category has resurrected for the fourth quarter with a special emphasis on "brick-and-click" retailers. The new dollars are coming from long-established companies eager for a Web presence before the holidays.

"They are all getting together for one last hurrah," said Neil Baker, senior vice president of ad sales for E! Entertainment.

Larger brands, such as Amazon.com, placed dollars in up front, but to the surprise of many executives, major retailers who did not promote Web sites last year are now spending. Best Buy is one such company, according to a media executive who requested anonymity.

While retailers are a key component, executives said that other types of dot-coms are also spending. "This says that there are enough companies that secured their [venture capitalist] financing and will build their businesses through advertising to replace those that are falling out of the market," said Hank Close, Senior VP of ad sales for Comedy Central. "For the short term it is an encouraging sign."

Baker said that so far this year, dot-com spending has yet to be the financial windfall it was last year. Close, however, said he is on pace with last year's dot-com figures.

According to the Cable Advertising Bureau, dot-coms spent $429.3 million. That figure is expected to be closer to $1 billion this year.

As for broadcast television, Internet-connected companies are expected to spend $2 billion in 2000, according to Harold Simpson, VP of research for the Television Bureau of Advertising. During the first two quarters, broadcasting's total dot-com haul equaled $1.1 billion. "We will probably see a repeat of last year's fourth-quarter dot-com spending," said one agency researcher who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "But the question is, Will it last until the Super Bowl?"


Megan Larson, ADWEEK Online. September 18, 2000

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