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Forrester released a study today detailing the number of hours per week the average American spends online. From 2008 to 2009, that number is flat at about 12h. Radio and print are down by 6 to 18% since 2004, likely due to the internet. TV is relatively flat. Results are below

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The scarce resource for the average American is time. But for advertisers targeting an audience, the scarce resource is attention. The more attention a medium has, the more valuable it is for an advertiser to market there.

Not many will doubt that more advertising dollars will shift online over time. Categories like local SMB advertising, video related advertising and social network advertising will continue to grow in dollar terms as measurement technologies improve.

Additionally, advertisers and agencies will become more comfortable with the medium and the disparity between attention and dollars on TV and Internet will dissipate. Currently, the TV ad market is about $65-70B; the internet is about $25B. Given similar amounts of time dedicated to the two media, this proportion should narrow.

The implication of these two pieces of data is that RPMs will continuet to rise on the web. Over the past few years, massive increases in page views driven by social networks and other sites have outstripped the increases in online ad spending.

If the number of ad impressions plateau, and online spend increases, the beneficiary will be publishers’ RPMs.

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