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Online ad spending to surpass print for first time this year

This year, spending on online advertising surpassed that of print newspapers for the first time, according to data collected by research firm eMarketer.

U.S. advertisers will have spent $25.8 billion by the end of the year, compared to $22.8 billion in print, according to the Wall Street Journal. Total ad spending is expected to grow 3 percent to $168.5 billion. Meanwhile, eMarketer projects that spending on print advertisements will fall 8.2 percent this year and 6 percent in 2011.

"It's something we've seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point," says Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer.

Although the report marks a major milestone in the development of online marketing, few analysts predict that print will lose significance as a viable marketing medium. Most experts argue that the marketing campaigns will become multichannel initiatives that incorporate email, social media, SEO, direct mail, newspaper ads and a whole range of other marketing perspectives.

The fact that major declines in newspaper revenue have tapered off in recent years further emphasizes the weakened but still relevant role of print.

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