Alternative Media Sees Explosive Growth
so-called alternative media, including social networks, digital
out-of-home networks and mobile content, will increase 20.2% to $88
billion in 2008, according to a new study by PQ Media Research. Its
first report focusing on alternative media further forecasts that the
fast-growing sector will hit nearly $161 billion by 2012, accounting for
26.6% of total U.S. advertising and marketing spending.
PQ Media defines
alternative media as: �Media buying strategies that attempt to bypass
the clutter of traditional advertising and marketing in an effort to
reach target audiences, primarily through new media such as the
Internet, but also by using alternative means through traditional media
such as product placement in broadcast television.�
The research firm
breaks the category into 18 sub-groups. Among those, consumer-generated
media, mobile ads, video game ads, word-of-mouth marketing, and
webisodes are expected to see the biggest gains in the next five years.
alternative sub-categories as of last year were event sponsorships and
marketing, search and lead generation, e-direct marketing, online
classifieds and displays, and local pay TV.
From 2002 to 2007,
alternative media grew at an annual rate of 21% to $73 billion, making
up 16% of overall ad and marketing dollars. But despite the optimistic
outlook, some caveats await marketers rushing to embrace alternative
media to boost return on investment. One is to avoid creating more
clutter by trying to cut through traditional media congestion.
�A key challenge is
riding that line between effective advertising and marketing without
annoying consumers to the point where they�re completely turned off,�
said Patrick Quinn, president and CEO of PQ Media. Word-of-mouth
marketing, mobile media and out-of-home digital advertising are
especially susceptible to alienating consumers with overly intrusive
A looming recession
will also contribute to slowing growth for alternative media in the next
couple of years, along with a natural slowdown caused by measuring
against a larger base of ad revenue.
emphasized that long-term factors, such as the desire to reach elusive
18- to 34-year-old males by alternative means, will continue to drive
growth in the coming years. Such trends will also make alternative media
less subject to cyclical spending patterns than traditional media like
TV, radio and print.
alternative outlets account for one-in-four ad dollars by 2012, will it
still be alternative? �It won't be so alternative then, but others will
come along to take their place,� assured Quinn.