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More good news from the online ad sector across the Atlantic – internet ad revenues grew to a record of $4.9bn (£2.5bn) in the first three months of this year, according to new research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The figure represents a 26% increase year on year and a 2% jump from the last quarter of 2006.

It also comes as UK media groups are reportedly attracting a growing -and perhaps under-exploited - audience in the US. 

The IAB recently said $16.9bn (£8.5bn) was spent online by US advertisers in 2006, compared to the just over £2bn ad groups say was spent in the UK.

Its president and CEO Randall Rothenberg said:

"The continued growth of online ad revenues clearly illustrates marketers' increased comfort with the extraordinary vitality and accountability of this medium. It reaches consumers with an unprecedented level of efficiency and measurability that provides marketers with actionable data. And the ever-changing landscape of new platforms and technologies that enrich interactive advertising guarantees that this growth trend will continue."

David Silverman at PwC (which performed the research) added:

“The continued growth of internet advertising, on top of the record growth of 2006 and despite advertising's traditional sluggish first quarter, demonstrates the growing significance of interactive advertising to the overall advertising and marketing industry.”

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