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Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 18:34 GMT
Financial websites buck the trend
Revenues have been holding up for financial sites
Revenues have been holding up for financial sites
Advertising revenues for online financial news sites in the United States continue to be strong despite the overall slump in dot-com spending.


People are paying rapt attention to financial news right now

Gene Dewitt, chief executive of media buying agency
Revenues have almost doubled in the past year, according to research firm Jupiter Media, and are on course to hit $2.4bn by 2005, by far the biggest share of the online advertising market.

The tech stock crash has sent page views soaring, as investors watch their portfolios decline as closely as they watched them grow.

"My guess is that people are paying rapt attention to financial news right now just like people flock to the weather channel during a storm," said Gene Dewitt, chief executive of media buying agency Optimedia US.

Bigger accounts

"There is no reason for (advertisers) to be cutting back on financial services outlets," Mr Dewitt added.

Unique site visitors to financial news web sites in the US were slightly up, by about 1.2%, in February over last year, despite the 22.4% drop in the Nasdaq during that month, according to Jupiter.

Individual sites are reporting a mixed picture.

CBS Marketwatch had 3.16 million users who accessed the site at least once this February, about the same as a year ago.

Traffic on TheStreet.com has also retained the levels of a year ago.


For consumers, watching their money is the closest thing to their hearts and I don't believe that will ever change

Katie Rae, online financial community Raging Bull
In contrast, privately-held Motley Fool has seen an increase of 31% in its monthly visitors over February last year, according to Jupiter.

While these gains are certainly nothing like the rapid growth in interest seen a year or two ago, they seem to be enough to keep advertisers interested in the financial news media.

"This year we have fewer people advertising, but much bigger accounts," said Scot McLernon, executive vice president of sales for CBS Marketwatch.

"About half of the companies advertising on the site are not related to financial services, a dramatic change from a year ago."

"It's just a much different environment this year.

We no longer have a bunch of dot-coms trying to create a brand and gain market share," he said, adding that its accounts now include old economy heavyweights like Budweiser, General Motors, and United Airlines.

Spending power

TheStreet.com also reported favorable revenues from advertising in the fourth-quarter, up 33% to $3.9m from the previous year.

Industry observers say advertisers will always be interested in a smart, financially astute audience.

"People will consistently be interested in that demographic because they have a huge amount of spending power in the market," said Katie Rae, general manager of online financial community Raging Bull, a subsidiary of TerraLycos Inc.

"For consumers, watching their money is the closest thing to their hearts and I don't believe that will ever change," she added.

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