Archive for the ‘Forecasts’ Category

Is a Newspaper Turnaround Afoot?

August 10, 2009

There were a number of separate items about newspapers from the past few days. First, on the bad news front, comes a kind of early eulogy for print newspapers in Philadelphia, the first “big city” in the US that may not have a daily (stay tuned).

On a more upbeat note, the Seattle Times is back in the black and apparently growing after the demise of the print edition of the Seattle PI, although that website appears to be holding its own as well. According to the NY Times:

But less than five months later, a nearly forgotten word has crept back into Times executives’ vocabulary: profit. “On a month-to-month basis, we are starting to operate in the black,” Mr. Blethen, who is also chief executive of The Seattle Times Company, said in an interview last week.

How much black ink and by what measure, the privately held company will not say, and amid a sharp advertising downturn, no one denies that its situation remains precarious. But The Times has improved its prospects by picking up most P-I subscribers and managing to keep them so far. It says its daily circulation rose more than 30 percent, to more than 260,000 in June, from about 200,000.

Oddly enough, what remains of The P-I is also faring better than expected. The Hearst Corporation kept the paper’s Web site alive as a news operation with a small staff, heavily reliant on more than 200 unpaid bloggers who write on things as diverse as their neighborhoods, cooking and marathon running.

Last week News Corp. announced a $203 million loss and a move toward requiring users to pay for all content online, the Financial Times is toying with several pay models but the centerpiece appears to be a pay per article system: currently offers three tiers of access to its digital content. For users who register an amount of personal information, such as their email address, 10 articles a month are accessible free of charge. There are about 1.4 million registered users of for this limited access.

An online subscription costs £150 a year, or £199 for a premium-level service that includes added content such as the Lex column . . .

“We are looking at pay per view and we do want to offer users the broadest range of options for accessing FT content on the website,” said the managing director, Rob Grimshaw. “We will progress with pay-per-view sometime over the next 12 months” . . .

However, speaking to the Guardian yesterday, Grimshaw said that it was of paramount importance to have a simple, easy payment system as had been successfully introduced by Amazon, with its “one-click” service, and iTunes.

In addition, last week, Borrell Associates said that it foresaw a modest recovery in newspaper ad revenues:

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Despite their loss of favor among techies, newspapers remain a highly trusted advertising medium among most consumers (per Nielsen, 4/09)

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Finally, here are some new metrics from the NAA (based on data collected by MORI research and Nielsen):

  • Newspaper Readers Seek Out Advertising Content: Nearly six in 10 adults (59 percent) identify newspapers as the medium they use to help plan shopping or make purchase decisions.
  • Newspaper Readers are Involved: 41 percent of U.S. adults say newspapers are the medium used most to check out ads – more than radio TV, Internet, magazines and catalogs combined.
  • Newspaper Readers Take Action: 82 percent of U.S. adults took some action as a result of a print newspaper ad in the past 30 days: 61 percent clipped a coupon, 50 percent bought something advertised and 52 percent visited a store.
  • Newspaper Readers Value Insert Advertising: 73 percent of adults regularly or occasionally read newspaper inserts, and 82 percent have been spurred to action by a newspaper insert in the past month.

Borrell Offers New Figures for Local Sites

May 1, 2009

Borrell Associates has always been the most bullish among the firms forecasting and tracking local ad revenues. Their firm’s new report on what “local websites earn” is out. Here’s the chart breaking down what Borrell says is a $12.6 billion local online ad market:


Source: Borrell Associates

If we take just the directory and newspaper categories, here’s what the percentages translate into:

  • Directories: $1.32 billion
  • Newspapers: $3.2 billion

For 2008, according to the NAA, online newspaper revenues were $3.1 billion. These numbers likely include bundling and are probably not “pure” online advertising.

Per the IAB, full year 2008 online ad revenues were $23 billion. Borrell’s overall number, $12.6 billion, is just over 50% of the IAB’s overall online ad revenue figure. That seems quite high to me. However the directory and newspaper figures above are pretty accurate. I’m not sure if verticals are included in Borrell’s “directories” category however.

Another Negative Local Media Forecast

February 27, 2009

BIA/Kelsey released a new comprehensive local advertising forecast, seeking to compete with the VSS’s and other financial forecasters of the world. Here are the high-level bits from the release:

BIA/Kelsey forecasts U.S. local advertising revenues to decline from $155.3 billion in 2008 to $144.4 billion in 2013, representing a negative 1.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Only the local interactive segment will show growth throughout the forecast period. All other local media will experience marginal to rapid declines in the next 18 to 36 months. A small number of traditional media will rebound with a revived economy beginning in 2011, though most traditional media will continue to decline, albeit at a slower pace.

BIA and The Kelsey Group project the interactive share of local ad spending will more than double from 9 percent in 2008 to 22.2 percent in 2013. According to the forecast, the interactive segment (encompassing mobile, Internet Yellow Pages, local search, online verticals and classifieds, voice search, e-mail marketing and other interactive revenues generated by traditional media players) will grow from $14 billion in 2008 to $32.1 billion in 2013 (at a CAGR of 18%), while the traditional segment (encompassing newspapers, direct mail, television, radio, print Yellow Pages, out of home (non-digital), cable television and magazines) will decrease from $141.3 billion in 2008 to $112.4 billion in 2013 (CAGR of -4.5%).

A few observations:

  • It would appear that BIA (Kelsey’s buyer) has begun the process of seeking to assert its brand over Kelsey in the interactive space. The problem is that BIA currently has no credibility in the online segment and will need to maintain the Kelsey brand for awhile accordingly. 
  • Forecasts are publicly released for multiple reasons, chief among which is publicity for the firm involved. That makes it “necessary” to make some sort of big statement (either positive or negative) to get attention. Almost all forecasts released are subject to this criticism. 
  • Often people don’t spend enough time really being careful about forecasts. I’ve been sloppy about forecasts I’ve been involved with in the past myself. An example of that was the PPCall forecast that was wildly optimistic about the market and its development trajectory. We said at the time that the forecast assumed Google and Yahoo adoption of PPCall (which never happened) but I should have put even more qualifiers around it. 
  • It’s almost impossible for a forecast this broad (BIA) to be accurate for any specific segment. The best that something this comprehensive can aim for is general directional accuracy — interactive will grow by roughly X and traditional will decline by roughly Y. 
  • Directionally this is of course accurate — traditional media will continue to see declines and they can’t replace ad revenues with online growth because of different pricing and economics in the online market. 

The trouble with doing any sort of forecasting at the moment is that economy is such an independent variable — really independent. We have no idea when a recovery will occur: 2010 or 2015. 

Many of the pubs that have run with this forecast are saying things like “local markets shrinking.” That kind of thing misleads because we’re still talking about billions and billions of dollars. Even though the BIA forecast above says interactive is the only part of the forecast to grow that is buried in the stories highlighting the gloom. 

Part of the misunderstanding about “local” that still pervades the online marketing world is that people look at it as a media “silo” within a broader Internet market: verticals, IYP, what % of search? etc. Rather than a media type or collection of silos, “local” should be seen as a dynamic consumer process. Yes, there are advertisers who advertise primarily locally (e.g., SMBs, retailers). But the bigger story that I always try and emphasize is how the Internet is a research/consideration tool that influences offline purchasing. That behavior overwhelms all e-commerce; from a commercial standpoint it’s the biggest thing happening online. 

There’s also the story of how traditional media and WOM influence online activity and search in particular. The Internet is in the “middle” between the real world media and peer to peer discussions on the one side and the cash register on the other, which is also in the real world. Mobile is a compelling and evolving element in this broader process. 

So whether “local” is $141 billion or $112 billion, it doesn’t really matter — although it matters to the radio sales guy who might lose his job — it’s still a giant market. What matters is whether marketers understand how consumers use media and whether they are mapping their media spending to that consumer behavior, which involves both traditional and online (and now mobile). 


Here’s an earlier MediaPost roundup of other negative local ad forecasts released earlier.

Coen Forecast Numbers on Local

January 7, 2009

From December . . . Robert Coen’s forecast numbers for 2009:



Didn’t Get Your Fill of Predictions?

January 6, 2009

Never fear. Matt McGee has done the painstaking work of rounding up lots and lots of predictions and organizing them by category and posting them here on a Big List

Here’s the Local-Mobile category:

Most predictions turn out to be directionally correct but mostly wrong on their timing. That’s even more true with revenue forecasts. 

This year the economy will really be the lever that determines how fast or slow everything goes. That’s the massive “X variable” in this equation.

eMarketer Online Ad Spending Numbers

November 25, 2008

Based on a mix of data sources, including IAB/PwC, here’s the company’s aggregation/forecast of online ad spending by category:



Borrell: Local to Slow in 2009

November 7, 2008

After this article that presented a pretty upbeat view of the local market (see my response here), Borrell has lowered its forecast:

For local interactive media, the big slowdown has begun a year earlier than we anticipated. The spending levels by local advertisers – which have grown at a frenetic 47% this year – are expected to slow down to a relatively paltry 8% in 2009. Local media companies projecting double-digit and even triple-digit increases in their interactive budgets next year will have a very difficult time meeting those expectations – especially if they rely on banner ads.

The economy be taking its toll on every sector. (Note: the “folksy” use of the word “be” was intentional in this sentence.)

Coen’s National and Local Forecasts

July 11, 2008

Here are the newest numbers for national and local advertising from Robert Coen:



Source: Magna/Coen

Coen says that the economy is hurting local entrepreneurs and that in turn is hurting local media. Take all these numbers with a grain of salt, but they’re probably directionlly accurate.

IAB: 2007 Online Ad Revs = $21 Billion

February 26, 2008

The IAB reported its estimate that 2007 saw 25% growth in online ad revenues for a total of $21.1 billion vs. $16.9 billion in 2006. You can expect the distributions to be similar to 2006:

  • Search — 41%
  • Display — 32%
  • Classifieds (which includes directories) — 18%
  • Lead Generation — 8%

Microsoft is engaged in a project to, depending on your view, a) more accurately capture and reflect consumer behavior by reflecting that a broader range of influences (beyond the “last click”) contributes to conversions or b) discredit search (and by extension Google) in the minds of advertisers or c) both.

Here are some paradoxes and truths as I perceive them:

  • People are overwhelmed by ads even as advertising becomes more ubiquitous
  • Ads that are not “relevant” are less and less effective with consumers who now ignore advertising as a matter of course
  • Display ads are less effective than search in terms of response rates (video may become an exception)
  • Search is the most effective medium online, but search + brand provides lift to both
  • More ad budgets are moving into online branding vehicles than search, with search as an almost “perfunctory” part of a larger online branding campaign

This creates a very interesting situation and a push to make brand/display advertising online more effective — and in some sense more like search behaviorally. Behavioral targeting is one of the approaches widely embraced by marketers and publishers and hailed as a savior of online branding. However, it’s highly problematic because of consumer tracking and privacy issues. The industry will need to quickly establish privacy standards and make them very transparent or outside regulators (especially in Europe) will cut the legs out from under it.

The other approach, which is “cleaner” and more interesting to me, is to turn display into directional marketing (See, e.g., Admission, Linkstorm and ShopLocal). All these companies make traditional display ads more interactive and “directional” by making them more “engaging” and interactive. Indeed, this category can be called “branded response” or “direct display.” One of the interesting things that Linkstorm does with video ads is to create a menu overlay that can go on an existing video ad but make it interactive, with specialized menus and landing pages (e.g., store locators, product specs, etc.)

Of course, these direct display ads can also be combined with BT data mining for even higher response rates.

Recession: Perception Is Reality

January 22, 2008

As the stock markets around the globe engage in panic selling, the reality of recession follows the perception: people become fearful and more conservative and spend less. Because the US economy is largely based on consumer spending, Bush & Co. want to “put money into people’s hands” so that they continue to spend. But the “damage” will have been done before people can get whatever modest payment the government provides.

The rate cuts don’t help that much right now because they seem to be fueling a lack of confidence. In addition, lenders have stopped lending. All this probably means we’ll be feeling the effects of recession before too long. I hope not but there’s a feeling of inevitability about it now. (Insert anti-Bush rant here.)


  1. What will happen to advertising in traditional media and online?
  2. Will online suffer equally or not as much?
  3. Will advertisers fall back on traditional media because of familiarity and more proven history or will the greater flexibility and generally cheaper pricing drive faster adoption (for SMBs and nationals)?
  4. Will newspapers suffer more than other traditional media sectors?
  5. Will investors keep funding Internet companies or shift their money elsewhere?
  6. Will the M&A climate continue or will it constrict amid broader conservatism?
  7. Will some of the various competitors in local, verticals, search wither and die leaving some clear winners?
  8. Will business models matter again for startups?

VCs May Prop Up Startups in a Bad Economy

January 21, 2008

Whether we’re now in a recession technically or not is, literally, academic. The economy is not doing well in most sectors (save exports bolstered by a weak dollar). However, continuing VC investment may help soften the blow to the Internet or at least the startup segment of the Internet.

According to AP:

Although many experts believe another recession is imminent, venture capitalists say there is little reason to believe their investment pace will slacken this year.

In a show of confidence, venture capitalists raised $34.7 billion for future investments during 2007, a 9 percent increase from the previous year . . .

Internet startups also appear better positioned to weather any economic turbulence because the advertisers that generate most online profits appear likely to keep shifting their spending from television, print and radio to the Web even if there is a recession.

That latter point is somewhat debatable except for the largest or highest traffic sites. In addition, a climate of ongoing M&A activity may continue to provide money to Internet entrepreneurs despite a flagging economy. The final point is that in a bad economy there may not be many good places to put money so the Internet may benefit for that reason as well. 

Regardless, we’ll soon see how all this plays out and how the Internet is affected vis-a-vis traditional media.

Jupiter: $8.9 Billion in Local Ads by 2012

January 18, 2008

I’ve written up the recently released Jupiter local online advertising forecast at SEL and compared it with some of the other forecasts in the market. Below is a quick summary at the highest level.

Some of these include locally targeted display, video and classifieds and some do not (all US only):

  • Piper Jaffray 2006 local revenues: $4.6 billion ($989 million attributable to paid search); longer term market potential: $25.9 billion
  • JupiterResearch 2007 revenues: $4.9 billion; $8.9 billion by 2011 (search is $2.5 billion in 2012)
  • Kelsey Group local (search and IYP) forecast: $4.9 billion by 2011 (new forecast coming)
  • Borrell Associates: $8.5 billion in 2007, $12.6 Billion in 2008
  • Veronis Shuler Stevenson: $8.4 billion in 2007 and $19.2 billion in 2011 ($6 billion is local search and IYP)
  • eMarketer: $2.9 billion in 2007; $7.8 billion in 2011

My advice on how to deal with all these numbers: take the most aggressive forecast and use it for external presentations and the most conservative one for internal business planning 🙂

Grading My 2007 Predictions

December 15, 2007

Here’s my list of 2007 predictions verbatim:

Powerset et al: There will be several high-profile general search engine launches. By the end of the year none of them will register in the minds of general consumer-users.

Brands and online marketing: Brand advertising dollars move online “in earnest.” And brand marketers become much smarter about “integrated” online-offline media campaigns.

Yahoo!’s independence: Yahoo! is not bought by Microsoft or merged with AOL. If there is an announced acquisition (no earlier than Q4 ‘07) it will be by AT&T. But let’s hope Yahoo! remains independent.

Local still a mess: Even as local search continues to gain more and more usage the fragmentation of both consumer traffic and advertising continues to obscure its real power and importance online.

Real-time offline inventory data: More offline store inventory data is integrated into the online database; comparison engines can no longer ignore this trend and start trying to integrate it themselves.

Online marketing adoption by small businesses: SMBs fully recognize the importance of online marketing and those not doing it start to feel serious anxiety.

User-generated content: The culture of user participation and content creation across the Internet puts a final stake in the heart of remaining doubt among pundits or brand advertisers regarding the permanence of this phenomenon.

User-generated commercials: In a variation on the theme above, user-generated commercials become mainstream and are broadcast widely on traditional TV.

Online video keeps rolling: Video continues to gain momentum with consumer-users, often at the expense of TV but monetization seriously lags consumer adoption. And consumers resist online video ads.

On-demand in demand: We get more Internet content onto TV and downloadable movies (onto TV) becomes a real thing.

Mobile gains steam: Mobile data adoption gains increasing traction and we start seeing some revenues from geotargeted advertising on mobile devices. We also see mobile-social networks gain a foothold and usage. But mobile TV, despite the hype, doesn’t really materialize as a mainstream phenomenon in ‘07.

More newspaper pain but somebody figures “it” out: The print newspaper industry continues to feel the pain of flat-to-declining ad revenues, but online newspapers continue their gains. Newspapers abandon resistance to the mixing of editorial and user-generated content online. And this year somebody in newspapers cracks the code and creates a good user experience that can be emulated across the industry (to some degree). We may also see the emergence of a new, national newspaper ad network.

The mainstreaming of VoIP telephony: People become less afraid of VoIP but AT&T’s triple/quadruple play holds many back.

Traditional directory assistance on life support: Free DA (”mobile local search for the rest of us”) becomes a mainstream phenomenon and a viable ad vehicle for both national and local advertisers (via proxies). Traditional DA (user-pays) is now clearly on the way out.

Free WiFi adds more cities: The hotspot is on the way out.

Some of these are wrong or partly wrong, but many are correct or directionally accurate. DA isn’t yet on “life support” and Powerset hasn’t launched. Arguably nobody’s figured online out completely in the newspaper industry but there’s considerable progress. There have been many user generated commercials (some of which have made it to TV) but this phenomenon hasn’t become as widespread as it appeared it would be. Mobile social networks exist, and both Facebook and MySpace are pushing aggressively into mobile but it’s still early. And municipal WiFi has not advanced as I had hoped, while the dreaded hotspot remains.

If I were objectively grading these predictions, I’d give ’em a B. What do you think; how did I do?

When Will Local Get Respect?

December 13, 2007

MoneyI was asked the other day on a call whether local would finally be recognized by the mainstream press and garner the attention it deserves in 2008. My response was that there’s a bit of a “boy who cried wolf” problem in that local has been hyped for so long and been disappointing in terms of revenues, despite the forecasts.

But what’s interesting is that the latest Borrell report puts current “local online advertising” (in 2007) at $8.5 billion. That number includes display (“banners”), search and video — with display comprising the lion’s share of that figure. The top industry categories/market segments that capture these ad revenues according to Borrell are (by share):

  • Pure plays (e.g., Google, Yahoo!, — 43.7%
  • Newspaper sites — 33.4%
  • Directories — 10.1%
  • Broadcast TV — 9.3%

Let’s assume the figure of $8.5 billion in geotargeted or local online advertising is correct for 2007. Overall online ad revenues are expected to reach about $21 billion this year in the US. That would mean that local revenues (not SMB spending) amount to roughly 40% of all online ad spending — today.

This is a very substantial figure and a big story. But it’s not as big a story of course as the consumer behavior. In my reformulation of local — Internet-influenced offline transactions — the majority of online consumer behavior with any sort of commercial intent is in some way tied to local purchases.

Consider a range of recent survey data:

  • 89% of consumers making in-store purchases in key categories have conducted online research prior to purchase
  • 88% of sales revenue generated from online advertising budgets (of participating retailers) came from in-store purchases
  • 92% of Internet/search influenced consumer electronics purchases happen in local stores
  • 82% of the people using local search sites followed up with offline action

Sources: BIGResearch, Yahoo-comScore (2006-2007), TMP Directional Marketing (2007)

Local is the “last mile of search.” It’s about directing consumers to offline businesses (whether big boxes or local plumbers) and tracking the efficacy of the online spend.

One of the other problems is that local is not like the iPhone, where we can clearly measure success in terms of market share and unit sales. Local IS the Internet; it’s about how we now use the Internet in myriad ways to conduct research and communicate with one another about purchases, events and activities in the real world.


Related: Here’s eMarketer’s latest online spending breakdown and forecast:

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Online Marketing’s Net Effect: Less Overall Ad $

November 8, 2007

What might ironically be called the “net effect” of online marketing will be the reduction of ad spending overall. Smart brand marketers know that traditional media are still important and must be combined with online to achieve maximum impact today, in this era of fragmented audiences. So that suggests an overall increase in marketing spend or at least a wash, as some ad dollars are shifted to the Internet.

Yet, the overall impact over time is likely to be a decrease in ad spending for two reasons:

  1. Competition and downward price pressure on ads online, which will in turn cause discounting in traditional media. In addition, online ads are less expensive than traditional media (although that’s apples to oranges)
  2. Online marketing efforts that are essentially free in some respects (social networks, YouTube, etc.)

As money shifts online to varying degrees to follow audiences there isn’t a 1:1 shift in ad dollars because of the differences in the economics of online marketing and the range of options available to marketers suggested above.

Here’s the latest eMarketer online ad forecast, derived from various primary sources:

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Zenith: Online Video, Local Driving Ad Growth

October 2, 2007

Online video and local search were pronounced the fastest growing ad segments on the Internet according to an updated forecast from ZenithOptimedia. From today’s MediaPost:

Online video and local search will drive a 30% growth in worldwide Internet ad spending to $33.72 billion this year, according to the latest forecast from ZenithOptimedia, which was released on Monday.

Local Forecasts: VSS vs. eMarketer

August 30, 2007

Today, from eMarketer (all geotargeted online advertising): $7.8 billion by 2011

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Here’s Veronis Suhler Stevenson’s (VSS’s) earlier forecast for online Local ad spending: $19.2 billion by 2011

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Source: VSS (8/07)

While the categories may be slightly different both forecasts seek to capture the full array of geotargeted advertising online and its projected value by 2011. The VSS forecast is almost triple the eMarketer forecast; however VSS asserts that it has the most accurate forecasting record in the industry:

The VSS Forecast also features the industry’s most accurate spending forecasts, producing a margin of error of +/- 2% for 9 of the last 10 years. The margin of error for the 2006 forecasts was + 0.4%.

Borrell’s numbers are also quite a bit larger than eMarketer, though it’s not tracking as many categories as VSS.

There are similarly divergent numbers for mobile advertising, which in a way is more understandable given how new and generally speculative the medium is at this point. But how can the VSS and eMarketer forecasts be so far apart? Are the assumptions wrong? Are the underlying data incomplete? Is the methodology flawed?

What do you think?

VSS: Internet to Be No. 1 Ad Medium by 2011

August 7, 2007

Overall Internet ad spending is supposed to reach almost $62 billion by 2011 and surpass all other media according to private equity and investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS).

The firm projects paid search will reach roughly $8.7 billion by year end and $16.7 billion in 2011. It also projects roughly $6 billion in local search and online yellow pages spending by 2011. All locally targeted online ad spending is expected to reach just over $19 billion by 2011. But here’s the local online ad spending part from the MediaPost article writing up the forecast (click to enlarge):


Source: MediaPost, VSS

To those who would claim the forecast is inflated, VSS says it has the best forecasts in the market:

The VSS Forecast also features the industry’s most accurate spending forecasts, producing a margin of error of +/- 2% for 9 of the last 10 years. The margin of error for the 2006 forecasts was + 0.4%.

I’ve also written up the findings at SEL. The only thing missing here is mobile, as an extension of local and/or Internet ad spending.

Sharks, Lampreys and Widgets

March 20, 2007

Brad Stone of the NY Times writes about MySpace’s widget restrictions. Lots of people want access to the traffic, but MySpace is seeking to control who or what makes money on its site. TechCrunch has written in the past about MySpace and its widget-blocking, which is not total but widespread. (The company owns SpringWidgets.)

The larger issue, which is more interesting to me, is that on the Internet there are some big sharks and then there are lots of lampreys. I don’t mean to imply too much about the lampreys other than that they have to rely on the sharks for food. The sharks of course are the big sites and destinations where consumers routinely go. The lampreys generally are everybody else who needs and wants traffic and is having trouble getting attention and so must turn to these syndication strategies.

The rise of the “widget economy” is partly a function of that reality. Another way to look at this is as the tension between “Web 1.0” and “Web 2.0.”


Related: Yesterday’s post, “The Portalization of MySpace,” discusses eMarketer data reflecting that the “portals” are grabbing the bulk of ad dollars online.

Also: An entirely widget-based telephony tool, Jaxtr comes out of private beta (via Mashable).

Local Forecasts Aplenty

March 7, 2007

Yesterday, I posted about Piper Jaffray’s local numbers and forecast. Two days ago, I pointed to this article showcasing the differences between Jupiter and Borrell’s local forecasts. And today the Kelsey Group released its annual forecast. Here’s the MediaPost article providing some color (numbers used are global). The numbers have been scaled back by roughly $2 billion vs. a year ago (on a global basis).

Growth rates from local Internet media will outpace overall online ad growth because it has taken longer to get what I refer to as the “infrastructure” in place.

So if you’re raising money or a marketer talking to the WSJ, you want the most bullish one. And if you’re doing an internal revenue projection, you want the most conservative one. The competing numbers are partly a function of dueling and differing definitions of the local market, which makes apples to apples comparisons very challenging.

I’ll have much more to say on all this in a couple weeks.


Related: Here’s a Kate Kaye ClickZ article riffing off the Kelsey forecast. Matt Booth, who now runs the ILM program there that I used to run is quoted as saying that “it’s so early in this game . . .”

I agree that it’s still early but I don’t think it’s a “greenfield” — at least on the consumer side. There is momentum and there are barriers to entry. As the former CEO of one of the better known local sites told me yesterday, because of the dominance of search engines and several established players it’s hard for new entrants to come into the market and get traffic.