UK digital publishers thriving, say AOP and Deloitte

The last quarter of 2021 proved to be a lucrative one for UK publishers with growth in revenues from digital content up 13.4% from Q4 2020 to a record quarterly total of £174 million.

According to figures collated in the Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI), which was compiled by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte, recruitment classified took first place as the largest category by growth, increasing by 59.9% to £5.6million.

The report also highlights impressive surges in sponsorship revenues and subscriptions which were up by 29.1% and 19.1% respectively in Q4 2021.

Display advertising continues to be the most successful income source for digital publishers with income reaching £77.4million in Q4 2021, an increase of 12.5% against Q4 2020. Much of this growth has been fuelled by mobile revenue which has risen from £7.6million to £16.5million, a 117.1% increase from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021. On mobile devices, video revenue saw impressive growth, surging by 325% in Q4 2021 versus Q4 2020, and digital audio followed suit at 200% growth. 

The increased revenue was achieved in both b2b and b2c arenas with the former showing an increase of 19.1% in Q4 2021 relative to Q4 2020, from £13.1million to £15.6 million. Meanwhile, b2c grew 12.8% relative to Q4 2020, from £140.4 million to £158.4 million.

Dan Ison, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said: “The digital publishing market posted impressive 13.4% growth over the course of 2021, as consumers across the UK continued to invest in quality, trustworthy reporting. In the final quarter of 2021, we’ve seen significant growth in revenues of around 60% within recruitment classified channels, driven by employers across the country competing in the race for talent.”

“Organisations are looking to capitalise on the large audience among digital publications to attract the eyes of possible candidates. However, as households face a rise in everyday living expenses, the cost of digital publishing subscriptions may be called into question. To maintain a strong subscriber base, publishers must focus on emphasising the rigour of their reporting, while improving the accessibility of their online platforms.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, added: “With all respondents prioritising new products or service expansions in the next 12 months, publishers continue to innovate and implement new revenue streams, alongside display advertising.”

“A notable shift this quarter was the impressive revenue growth from mobile, especially relating to video and digital audio. While video has always been a valuable and engaging format, and audio is quickly following suit, these latest revenue figures show that publishers are now seeing more success in monetising this content and responding to changing consumer behaviours.”


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