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UK publishers’ digital revenues grow to £416.2 million in 2015

Deloitte, the professional services firm, and the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) this week unveiled the findings from the latest Digital Publishers Revenue Index report (DPRI) showing UK publishers experienced overall revenue growth of 5.2% in 2015.

While display advertising remains the largest single revenue category accounting for 46% of total revenue, the report shows that overall revenue growth was driven by three formats: online video, with an increase of 27%; sponsorship, which has risen by 19%; and mobile, which has grown by 11%.

Although desktop display retains its position as the most significant source of advertising revenue, it has experienced a slow but steady decline over the last 12 months. In contrast, video advertising demonstrated positive growth throughout the year, reporting an annual increase of 43.1% in the fourth quarter alone.

Mobile continues to perform well for the industry. Advertising revenue has seen growth of 11%, largely driven by smartphone display advertising (43% increase), as well as the introduction of larger-screen smartphones that have successfully competed for tablet revenue (11% decline). Significantly, mobile advertising revenue now accounts for 10.2% of total revenue, up from 9.6% in 2014.

The DPRI report reveals seven years of sustained growth in video and mobile advertising revenue, which has surpassed £50 million for the first time.

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “Sustained growth over a seven year period demonstrates how online publishers have continued to adapt to a rapidly changing online environment – this can be seen from the rise of video ad formats in 2015. In addition, the sharp increase in sponsorship revenue demonstrates publishers’ desire to introduce more dynamic and meaningful formats, in response to advertiser demands.”

Howard Davies, media partner at Deloitte, said: “New third party distribution platforms, as well as the emergence of mobile ad-blockers, were just some of the challenges faced by online publishers in 2015. Yet, on average, mobile device revenues demonstrated double-digit growth each month throughout 2015. This is a clear indication that the UK¹s online publishers are adjusting their business models in order to develop mobile-optimised content.”