Ad forecasters have been predicting for awhile that spending on the Internet will soon surpass traditional TV — and research firm eMarketer now says the lines will cross in 2017.
The firm just lowered its projection for TV spending this year to $70.6 billion, an increase of 2.5% vs 2015. Last year it anticipated a 4.5% increase in 2016.
Meanwhile it raised the forecast for digital spending to $68.8 billion, a 15.4% increase vs 2015. Mobile spending is especially robust, growing 38.0% to $43.6 billion.
“We still expect positive growth for TV ad spend, driven by political advertising and the summer Olympics,” eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Martin Uteras says. “However, we see more ad dollars flowing to digital as a way of optimizing spending in what may be a challenging economic year.”
But next year TV will again be up 2.5%, to $73.8 billion, while digital rises 11.9% to $86.6 billion. At that rate, TV will account for less than a third of total media ad spending by 2020.
Google and Facebook are driving the digital train. The search giant will account for $26.6 billion in ad revenues this year, up 9% vs 2015. Facebook wull be up 15% to $10.29 billion.
The eMarketer findings appear consistent with the views that RBC Capital Markets just found in its seventh survey of about 2,000 advertising professionals. A record 82% expect online budgets to grow over the next year, with 16% saying they’ll stay the same and just 2% expect a decrease.
The Wall Street firm adds that half of the respondents say that most of the funds going to digital will come from TV. In September only 37% gave that answer.