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Net ad sales climb at end of 2002

In a revision of Web ad sales figures for the fourth quarter, the Interactive Advertising Bureau says revenue jumped by 9 percent compared with the previous quarter's figures.

In an update to Web ad sales figures for the fourth quarter, the Interactive Advertising Bureau said revenue jumped by 9 percent in the U.S. market at the end of 2002 from the previous quarter's figures.

The trade group, in concert with auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, reported on Thursday that Net ad sales totaled $1.6 billion for the quarter and $6 billion for the year. The group had released estimates in April that showed revenue at $1.5 billion for the quarter, a 2 percent rise, and $5.95 billion for the year.

The final figures cast a better light on the Net advertising market, and they signify the industry's second quarterly upturn since 2000. Still, for the full year, sales were down 16 percent compared with 2001.

"A number of factors that had been negatively impacting revenue growth seem to be turning favorable, including a modest rebound in overall advertising spending," Pete Petrusky, director of New Media for PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a statement. Among other things, growth in broadband "is providing more opportunities for large traditional brand advertisers to experiment with the successful larger and more creative ad formats."

Among other findings, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported that keyword search advertising led the growth among all Web ad formats, which include banners and pop-ups. Sales of keyword search ads represented 15 percent of ad revenues in 2002, more than triple the sales in 2001. In comparison, banner sales were down 6 percent for the year to 29 percent of total formats. For the fourth quarter, keyword search sales comprised 21 percent of total ad format revenue.

The IAB sponsors the Internet Ad Revenue Report, which is conducted independently by the New Media Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The IAB restated its total figures because of public documents issued from the top Internet ad sellers.