The UK is several years ahead of the US in the race to develop internet advertising, according to Yahoo! chairman and chief executive officer Terry Semel.
Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Engage conference yesterday (Tuesday), Semel said the US is now lagging behind in terms of engaging consumers to spend more time online.
He added: “As large audiences gather, advertisers follow. When those audiences start to spend more time and engagement, they become even more important to the advertisers going forward.
“The UK is leading right now. The US is still behind. Certainly it’s lagging behind the UK by a year or two.”
The IAB predicts the internet could account for 12.5% of all media consumption by the end of the year. By contrast, Semel says the US figure is expected to be just 7%.
Semel has been holding talks with about 12 major UK advertising agencies this week as Yahoo! tries to grab a larger share of the booming online advertising market.
Yahoo! believes the growth is “really being understated”, says Semel: “These are major opportunities for the internet. Most of the growth is still ahead. Advertising always follows engagement. The opportunity for advertisers is in its infancy and will grow.”
Semel is under pressure to produce better results at Yahoo!. Its share price has fallen this year as analysts worry that it is being left behind by rivals Google and News Corp following their acquisitions of next-generation Web companies, such as YouTube and MySpace.
However, Yahoo! has announced a deal to provide advertising on Vodafone’s network. This is seen as a victory for Yahoo! over Google, which until now had the relationship with Vodafone (MW October 19).
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