Future of Media Publishing Media Planning and Buying

AOP survey: 100% of publishers to reduce advertising dependency as 67% eye cuts


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

October 26, 2021 | 2 min read

Research from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte has laid out the mixed returns of the industry – despite 92% of members reporting positive revenue growth, 67% have said cost-cutting remains a high priority.


Cost-cutting remains a high priority / Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

The survey of 16 UK digital publishers, comprising 12 B2C publishers and four B2B publishers, found that digital publishing revenues in the UK increased to £137.8m in Q2 2021. Display advertising remained the largest revenue category, seeing a £56.3m increase of 42.1% year-on-year at the height of the pandemic. Subscription revenue was up 23.1% in that time frame.

In the year ending June 2021, total digital revenue of members increased by 21.8% to £557.3m. Growth in subscriptions and display formats increased to £129.6m and £224.8m respectively. The B2C publishers faired better than the B2B ones, with growth at 24% versus 2.4%.

92% of respondents reported positive revenue growth. Regardless, 67% of survey respondents believe cost reduction will once again be a high priority in the next 12 months, showing that growth isn’t necessarily enough for comfort. And with the advertising headwinds ahead, due to the dissolution of tracking and the increasing awareness of privacy, every respondent (up by 33%) is prioritizing non-advertising revenue growth.

Richard Reeves, managing director of AOP, said: “Publishers have demonstrated incredible performance and adaptation after such a trying year. 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.”

Future of Media Publishing Media Planning and Buying

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