The Friday Interview: Sinead Johnson, PricewaterhouseCoopers

10 Nov 2006

This week’s interview is with Sinead Johnson (pictured), director of strategy at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ireland

Online advertising in Ireland is predicted to almost double by 2010. Is it fair to say the Irish advertising industry has so far failed to understand the internet?
I have heard that too but have to disagree. I think it is a combination of a number of factors rather than a lack of willingness. As well as coming from a low base in internet penetration in Ireland, there hasn’t been a sufficient measurement process that supports the value of online advertising. However, we are predicting a greater proportion of budgets to go towards online advertising and expect to see richer media being used in campaigns.

Total spending on internet advertising and connectivity is predicted to reach US$385m. What are the factors driving this?
In terms of access rates and online advertising Ireland will achieve higher growth rates than mature economies like the US. We have been behind the curve and are starting from a low base. Therefore we as a country have a higher growth potential. There are two factors underpinning this rapid uptake: the low number of PCs in Irish homes and how many of them have actual internet access.

Ireland has been renowned as a haven for computer gamers, with the highest penetration of PlayStation 2s per capita outside Japan. What are your predictions for this market?
The Irish video games market was worth US$236m at the end of 2005. We are predicting this market to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 12pc to over US$236m by the end of 2006 and to US$415m by 2010, and that’s just the software and hardware for the consoles side of it and not the wireless/mobile segment.

There has been speculation that the rise of the internet has been to the detriment of traditional media sectors like newspapers and TV. Do you see this trend impacting Ireland?
The TV and newspaper industries in Ireland were worth US$810m and US$714m respectively. While we will see the overall value of newspaper circulations declining by 1pc by 2010, the value of newspaper revenue from advertising will increase to be one of the highest in western Europe. That is an indication of the buoyancy of the newspaper business in Ireland. Overall, radio, TV and the internet are going to see the highest growth rates in the years ahead.

By John Kennedy

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