The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has predicted that UK online ad spend will overtake national newspaper advertising by the end of 2006, after reporting that the web’s share of the ad market reached double figures in H1.

The study, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the IAB, showed firms spent £917.2m on online advertising in Britain between January and June, a 40.3% rise over the same period last year.

The IAB said the web continued to be the ad industry’s fastest growing sector during the six months, having increased its market share to 10.5% from 7.3% a year before.

It is now within 1% of the national press, which the IAB said commands 11.4% of the market.

Guy Phillipson, the IAB’s chief executive, said: “The gap between online and newspaper advertising is narrowing fast and if this growth rate continues then we will be a £2bn medium by the New Year.