Digital to become number one medium for ads in Ireland

25 Feb 2010

While digital advertising, comprising online and mobile, is hovering in the teens in Ireland, it will eventually follow international trends, like in the States, where digital advertising is 25.6pc of the overall market, and be the number one medium.

That’s according to Dermot Hanrahan, chief executive of Electric Media, which following the acquisition of Sales Online is now Ireland’s largest digital advertising company with more than 60 premium online brands, including O2, eBay, Ticketmaster,,, CBS International, and many more.

Hanrahan is chairman of Red FM, a shareholder and director of 4fm and a shareholder in Radio Nova, which will be launched later this year. He also has radio interests in the UK. He is chairman and a shareholder in and last year bought Carlton Screen Advertising.

“In both the US and the UK, online advertising is now the number one medium – bigger even than television – and with this transfer of assets, Electric Media is gearing up for the inevitable replication of that trend in the Irish market.

“While we do not yet have exact figures for online spend in this market – and we look forward to the new IAB Ireland’s figures later this year – we do know we are not yet near the UK online share. 

“There, digital advertising accounts for 23.5pc of all advertising spend – I estimate that in Ireland, we are still hovering in the late teens – but we will definitely follow the international trends. Online advertising is the only media sector to show increased spend in the past year in both the US and UK markets. And mobile advertising, in particular, is set to grow dramatically,” Hanrahan said.

About the Electric Media and Sales Online merger

The merger between Electric Media and Sales Online represents the largest consolidation in the digital advertising industry in Ireland so far.

“The deal is in the best interests of publishers, advertising agencies and advertisers who now have access to a significantly larger suite of premium brand websites, which provides for a centralised planning and buying point, delivering near 100pc reach of the Irish mobile and online audience,” said Simon Ferguson, managing director, Sales Online.

Ferguson pioneered the digital advertising industry in Ireland since his time as digital director of Ireland’s first-ever digital advertising agency ICAN in 1998. As well as Sales Online, he is co-founder of the Interactive Advertising Bureau Ireland (IAB) & the JNIR (industry research), publisher of The DOGS Directory and a board member of the Irish Direct Marketing Association (IDMA) and IABI. Ferguson is also a director and 50pc shareholder of Refresh Digital Advertising.

Hanrahan continued: “Online advertising is unlike traditional advertising in a number of ways but particularly in the fact that it is so fragmented. There are literally millions of sites and to have a credible advertising presence online, a client may have to have a presence on a large number of websites.

“This is where Electric Media really adds value – with our 60-plus premium sites, we can truly say we offer the most comprehensive online advertising service in Ireland.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: Ireland is expected to catch up to the United States in terms of digital advertising

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years