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Local TV Online Revs Up 41%

Local TV's online revenue was up 41% in 2006 to $399 million, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising, with that figure expected to jump to $618 million by the end of 2007.

The second annual survey of broadcasters' Web efforts by TVB, which touts the advertising efficacy of local TV stations, also found that stations are taking on newspapers and yellow pages with online classified and directory advertising.

Online ad categories that dominated the increase were real estate, automotive and high-tech.

The study concluded that TV's share of online advertising was up a percentage point to 7% of the total pie, while newspaper Websites' share was down in 2006 by seven percentage points.

TVB projects that, for the top 20 markets, station online revenue in the top 20 markets will be  $1,028,000; markets 21-50, $1,046,000; markets 51-100, $533,000; and markets 101-210, $263,000.

Despite their smaller revenue numbers, the smaller markets averaged four times more share of their smaller ad pie than larger markets.

TV capitalized on its strength, with 72% selling video ads on their sites, to less than a third of newspaper sites selling such ads.

Among the study's recommendations to help grow online revenue even more: think of the Web not as a mass medium but a "mass of niches," hire Web-only salespeople, and consider launching spin-offs that may not necessarily carry the station's brand.