Why It's Hot

More people than ever before go online for information and entertainment. Every day, almost half of all adult Internet users read web publications, and nearly a third watch Web videos, says Pew Research. Advertisers have taken notice. A recent study by eMarketer, which tracks the industry, projects that online ad spending will hit close to $40 billion this year, surpassing print ad dollars for the first time.

Growth Potential

Industry-wide revenue (mostly from ads) for Internet publishers is projected to almost double in the next five years to almost $72 billion. The number of employees in the field is expected to grow to 150,422 by 2017, up from 127,880 this year.

Barriers to Entry

As technology costs have dropped, it's pretty cheap to start and grow a website, and the typical company in the sector has only two or three employees. That said, ad revenue is highly dependent on Web traffic, and many players means tough competition.

Biggest Opportunity

Online video. Advertisers particularly like sites like Hulu that require users to check out commercials as they watch content, notes Brian Bueno, who follows Internet publishers for IBISWorld.

May 18, 2012