Google is already the UK's second biggest ad-earner (Telegraph), having overtaken Channel 4 with revenues of £821 million to Channel 4's £775 million. Google now stands behind only ITV (pdf), with broadcast revenues down 7% year-on-year to £1.665 million.
What do we have to believe to see Google overtaking ITV in the foreseeable future? That search ad revenues will continue to grow strongly; that Google will increasingly dominate the paid search market; and that broadcast TV advertising is in fundamental structural decline as viewers migrate online. Three for three.
Also: Google made £821 revenues in the UK last year. It didn't break out a UK profit line, but overall it generated an EBIT margin of 38.87%, so assuming mediocrity in the UK generated UK profits of £319.12 million; 10% more than ITV's £288 million, and more even than their higher figure of £311 million in 2005. A few UK media companies made higher profits than ITV, specifically Reuters, Yell, Pearson, WPP, BSkyB and Reed Elsevier. Did they make more than £320 million for running UK ads though? Probably not. Did Google therefore just record the largest advertising profit of any UK media business? Probably.
(HT: Jeff Jarvis)
Update: a version of this post, with some minor amendments, now appears at SeekingAlpha.