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AOP & Deloitte report 31% growth in total digital publishing revenues

The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte has revealed sustained growth in digital publishing revenues in the third quarter of 2021, up 31% from Q3 2020, with 84% of AOP board members reporting positive revenue growth.

AOP & Deloitte report 31% growth in total digital publishing revenues
Richard Reeves: “These impressive revenue figures are the result of publishers’ continued determination this year.”

Display advertising remains the largest category by revenue for publishers, achieving growth of 29.8% to £59.8 million in Q3 2021, in comparison to the same period in 2020. The continued impressive growth of sponsorship revenues, which increased by 69.9% compared to Q3 2020, marks another notable development.

Subscription revenues have also seen year-on-year growth, rising by 24% in Q3 2021. Meanwhile, smartphone and tablet devices, as well as online video revenue saw substantial growth from Q3 2020 to Q3 2021, increasing by 86.6% and 304.2% respectively.

Revenues from digital audio, incorporating internet radio and podcasts, reported a surge of 520.6%, with revenues catapulting from £0.6 million from September 2020 to £3.4 million in September 2021.

B2B and B2C publishing revenues experienced growth both on a twelve-month rolling basis and as a year-on-year change. B2B revenue increased by 15.5% in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020, with a moving annual total of 5.3% equalling £49.8 million. Meanwhile, B2C recorded an uptick of 32.8% relative to Q3 2020, and a moving annual total of 22.5% to September 2021.

Despite a majority of respondents declaring continuous revenue growth, AOP board member confidence has fallen slightly, both in terms of the publishing industry as well as their company’s financial prospects. However, there is a suggestion of recovery in the fact that 100% of respondents considered new products to be a priority in the next 12 months – up from 55% in comparison to Q3 2020 – while cost reduction targets are taking a backseat, with 33% of publishers citing this as a priority, in comparison to 55% who said the same in Q3 2020.

Dan Ison, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said: “After withstanding the challenges of 2020, the digital publishing market has triumphed in 2021. The colossal rise in digital audio revenue comes as smart speaker adoption continues to grow. We know that 35% of consumers now have access to a smart speaker, up from 29% in 2020, with podcast and internet radio audiences also growing steadily. Digital publishers are finally tuning in to the new opportunities that audio channels offer.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “These impressive revenue figures are the result of publishers’ continued determination this year. As we close the chapter on 2021, the challenges for the year ahead remain undetermined, so, as an industry, we must continue to remain resilient and collaborate to tackle any imbalance and inefficiencies we could be faced with. A major factor in this will be diversification in revenue strategies, which has already been a major focus for this year, supported by the exponential growth in online video and digital audio this quarter.”

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