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NZ online advertising for Q1 2009 rose 7.99% ($49.26 million) on Q1 2008 ($45.86 million), according to the latest Insight Report out of the Interactive Advertising Bureau & PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Search & Directories led the way with a 27% growth but Classifieds were down 8.55%, reflecting, says the IAB, the challenges faced in the real estate, motoring and jobs sectors that are significant categories in the Classifieds market.

Search & Directories is now the largest type of interactive advertising, accounting for 38.1%, moving ahead of Classifieds on 35.63%.  Travel & Accommodation and Investment Finance & Banking recorded 15.39% and 14.43% shares respectively.  The top five categories continue to account for about 60% of total spend.

Automotive "surprisingly held up" at 7.79%, just ahead of the growing Food & Beverage category at 6.87%.  Retail dropped from 4.7% in Q4 2008 to only 2.94% ("an expected seasonal trend").

Display advertising continued its strong performance, growing 11.17%.  Display represented 26.27% of all spend.

The trends varied across the categories.  Telecommunications was down from 13.42% to 8.85%, probably in anticipation of a very active second quarter with the new mobile network launch and higher competitive activity.  Government department advertising was down 13.37% to 10.51%.

The IAB says it believes that interactive was the only major medium to show any positive growth in the quarter (other mediums do not release quarterly figures).

"The continued strong growth is very satisfying in these tough market conditions," says IAB chairman Kevin Bowler.

"Industry insiders have suggested much of the traditional media market is at least 10% down on the same period.

"Although the interactive classified segment is likely to continue to be adversely affected by the market in the foreseeable future, we are anticipating continued growth in the display and search segments throughout 2009.

"Interactive media will continue to outperform the media market as advertisers demand more accountability and efficiency from reduced media investments in 2009."

(Source: Admedia's Fastline)