Digital Publishing Top Stories
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UK digital publishing revenues up 40% in Q2: AOP and Deloitte

92% of publishers reported positive revenue growth in Q2

92% of publishers reported positive revenue growth in Q2 2021 according to the latest quarterly Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte. Digital publishing revenues in the UK increased to £137m with display advertising holding its place as the largest category by revenue.

On a 12-month rolling basis ending June 2021, total digital revenue increased by 21% to £557 million, driven by substantial growth in subscriptions and display formats which increased to £129 million and £224 million respectively. Overall revenues across both B2B and B2C publishers also increased, growing 2% and 24% respectively over the twelve-month period.

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. 

Richard Reeves, Managing Director, AOP

During Q2 2021, display advertising income reached £56m, an increase of 42% against Q2 2020. Revenue from subscriptions also contributed positively, growing by 23% compared to Q2 2020.

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. The challenge now is for publishers to fortify reader loyalty with unmissable content.”

Dan Ison, Lead Partner for Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment, Deloitte

B2C publishers saw double-digit growth in digital revenues in Q2 2021, with revenues growing by 46%, relative to Q2 2020, from £87 million to £127 million, fuelled by large increases in sponsorship (76%) and display formats (48%).

We’ve continued to see strong digital growth through the last twelve months as our audiences have come to brands like Grazia, Empire, Heat and Closer to be entertained and inspired. We’re also seeing very rapid growth in the basket value of purchase decisions that we influence through our reviews and recommendations, something that plays to the strengths of specialist titles.”

Chris Duncan, CEO of UK Publishing, Bauer Media 

Headwinds remain

Despite the high growth rate, and perhaps influenced by the ongoing 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 33%) expressed non-advertising revenue growth would be a priority as publishers look to diversify revenue streams. 

B2B is also an area of concern – despite 2% growth over the past twelve months, revenue was still down 5% relative to Q2 2020 with a severe decline in subscriptions (-15%), classifieds (-99%) and ad display formats (-51%).