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Digital publishers confidence affected by economic climate

Digital publishers report revenue up 12.3% but economic climate a worry

The Association of Online Publishers reports total digital revenue for Q2 2022 was GBP 154.8 million, up by 12.3% from Q2 2021. 50% of respondents report positive growth. “However, AOP board members’ confidence in the industry and their companies has slightly declined, no doubt affected by the wider economic climate”, the report from AOP and consultancy Deloitte says. AOP is a UK industry body for digital publishing companies.

Half of respondents reported positive revenue growth in Q2 2022, with 100% selecting new products as a high priority for their business over the next year, alongside non-advertising revenue growth, which was highlighted as a priority by 83%. 

“With many consumers looking to cut back their spend due to rising living costs, publishers must remain agile in responding to changing consumer demands. Generating engaging, multi-platform content that is accessible for every consumer will be key to maintaining consumer interest and revenue growth over the coming months”, says Dan Ison, lead partner at Deloitte.

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Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, said the ongoing decline of desktop has implications for publishers, as mobiles are better suited for shorter, ‘snackier’ editorial:

“While there is still demand for long-form content, I’d suggest this is being successfully catered to via channels such as newsletters.”

During Q2 2022, recruitment classifieds saw the strongest growth for publishers, increasing by 70.3% compared to Q2 2021. With revenue up to GBP 6.3million, this is likely driven by the surge in the labour market, the report says. 

“Display advertising also shows growth of 28.6% – up from GBP 56.3million in Q2 2021 to GBP 72.4million in Q2 2022 – and remains the largest category by revenue for digital publishers.”

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“Digital audio continues to trend positively, with a 16.7% revenue increase from Q2 2021, though this has slowed since the phenomenal 500% growth reported in Q1 2022.”

Multi-platform and mobile devices increased 18.4% and 21.1% respectively in Q2 2022, when compared to Q2 2021, while desktop-only revenue declined by 11%. 

“This reflects the wider trend of advertising campaigns being run across at least two different devices, an indication of the way consumers now consume content across a variety of platforms”, the report says.

“B2B and B2C publishers experienced an uptick in publishing revenues, both on a 12-month rolling basis and as a year-on-year change. B2B revenue increased by 16.3% to GBP 55.7million in June 2022 on a 12-month rolling basis, driven by a significant expansion in display formats, classifieds, and subscriptions. Meanwhile, B2C revenue grew by 12.1% in June 2022 on a 12-month rolling basis, increasing to GBP 571.6million.”

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