During Q2 2021, display advertising held its place as the largest category by revenue for digital publishers; with income reaching £56.3 million, an increase of 42.1% against Q2 2020. Revenue from subscriptions also contributed positively, growing by 23.1% compared to Q2 2020.
On a 12-month rolling basis ending June 2021, total digital revenue increased by 21.8% to £557.3 million, driven by substantial growth in subscriptions and display formats which increased to £129.6 million and £224.8 million respectively over the same period. Overall revenues across both B2B and B2C publishers increased, on the same basis, growing 2.4% and 24% respectively.
B2C publishers saw double-digit growth in digital revenues in Q2 2021, with revenues growing by 46.5%, relative to Q2 2020, from £87 million to £127 million, fuelled by large increases in sponsorship (76.9%) and display format (48.4%). B2B revenue decreased by 5.1%, relative to Q2 2020, with the decline driven by drops in subscriptions (-15.9%), classifieds (-99.8%) and display formats (-51.5%).
A strong majority of respondents (92%) reported positive growth in their revenues during Q2 2021, and AOP board members’ confidence in the digital publishing industry and in their own companies’ financial prospects remains at a high level. Perhaps influenced by the learnings of the pandemic, 67% of survey respondents believe cost reduction will once again be a high priority in the next 12 months, while 100% of respondents (up by 33%) expressed non-advertising revenue growth would also be a priority.
Dan Ison, Lead Partner for Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment, Deloitte, commented: “With revenues up 40.8% year-on-year, the growth of the UK’s digital publishing market over the past 12-months has been astonishing. Deloitte’s latest Digital Consumer Trends research highlighted that 23% of UK consumers are more likely to read the news now than before the start of the pandemic, with 83% agreeing that 'fake news' is a big problem today. Consumers are ready and willing to invest in quality, reliable reporting. The challenge now is for publishers to fortify reader loyalty with unmissable content.”
Richard Reeves, Managing Director, AOP, commented: “Publishers have demonstrated incredible performance and adaptation after such a trying year. This was supported by the breadth and volume of entries we received for this year’s AOP Digital Publishing Awards, showing that change – although challenging – breeds innovation and resilience. With all respondents focusing on non-advertising revenue growth in the next 12-months, I look forward to seeing more tales of advances and smart pivots in publishers’ strategies.”
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