Channel Nine – the network where no-one’s sure
who’s really in charge – remains number one in advertising market share but is
on track to lose that title.

As the Smage reports:

Although still market leader, Nine’s whack of the $1.5
billion metro TV market for the six months to December 31, 2005, fell
5.3% to $534.8 million. That equates to a record low market share of
36.3%. In contrast, Nine’s share was 38.5% in the June 2005 half and
37.6% for the December half in 2004.

The last time Nine achieved the late Kerry Packer’s
mandate of a 40% market share was in 1999.

Ten also lost market share (30.87%
advertising share, down from 30.9% in the previous corresponding period), while
the big winner was Seven with 32.88% up from 30.9%.)

But the main story remains free-to-air
television overall steadily losing its cut of the total advertising dollar as
buyers look to alternative methods for breaking through. The 2005 December
half was particularly rough for TV as advertising income fell 1.8% in
absolute terms, although that was partly thanks to an election-fuelled boom in
2004 and perhaps a post-Olympic year trough. John Howard did his best to make
up for that with the workplace changes blitz but it wasn’t enough.

Internet advertising is enjoying a hype
boost at the moment as it surges off its low base, but it remains early days
for proving its effectiveness as a mass marketing tool.

An utterly unscientific and very small
straw poll finds frequent net users reporting the average internet ad as being
rather invisible – you just look through the things. Even while making a coffee
in the ad breaks, you can’t help hearing the TV.

And then there’s the alleged effectiveness
of newspaper display advertising. Does anyone really ever see display ads
tucked away in the body of the Fin Review? Maybe just the clients who pay
for them.