UK Publishers Facing ‘Digital Tipping Point’ According to Latest Report from AOP and Deloitte

  • Findings from the Q1 2016 Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI) reveals UK publishers have seen digital revenues rise by 62% in the last four years
  • Report shows publishers are continuing to see a shift from physical to digital revenues and highlights an uplift in video and sponsorship revenues

London, UK – ­UK publishers have seen their total annual digital revenues grow by 62% over the last four years, according to analysis from the Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI), a quarterly report of UK publishers from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

UK publishers generated digital revenues of £100.5 million in Q1 2016, a rise of 8.3% compared to the same quarter in 2015. Display advertising ­ which accounts for 35% of this revenue ­ declined by 8% year-on-year. However, this decline was more than compensated for by significant year-on-year growth in online video (+43%), subscriptions (+29%), and sponsorship (+27%) revenue.

On an annual basis (April 2015 ­ March 2016), UK publishers generated combined digital revenues of £411.4 million. This increase of 6.2% from the corresponding period 12 months earlier was driven by substantial growth from non-recruitment classified ads (+34%), online video (+25%), and sponsorship (+20%).

The DPRI also found annual mobile revenue increased by 2.6% year-on-year. This overall increase was driven by a 19% rise in revenue from smartphones, offsetting a decline of 12% in revenue from tablets. Larger smartphone screen sizes may be the reason for the growth of mobile revenue from smartphones, rather than tablets.

On a sector basis, revenue by business-to-business (B2B) publishers grew by 7.0% in the year to March 2016, while business-to-consumer (B2C) revenue grew by 6.0% across the same period.

Dan Ison, lead partner for media and entertainment at Deloitte, commented: “In the last year UK publishers have generated strong revenue growth from online video, sponsorship, and smartphones, indicating that investment in digital has paid off. Since 2012, digital revenues have grown 62% and we see a clear indication that the UK’s online publishers have reached a tipping point in the physical versus digital debate. While it would be wrong for UK publishers to move away from physical entirely, adopting a digital-first business model is an important step to help sustain revenues in the medium term.”

Richard Reeves, managing director at AOP, said: “Despite the obstacles and challenges publishers face around digital, it is promising to see media owners embracing and benefiting from the opportunities.  The Q1 2016 DPRI shows publishers’ digital revenues are continuing to grow steadily and highlights the beginning of the shift away from display towards more creative ways of monetisation, including online video and sponsorship advertising.  This is a trend we expect to continue throughout 2016.”

UK Digital Publisher Revenue

AOP & Deloitte DPRI report

% Change
  Q1 2016 vs. Q1 2015 MAT to March 2016 vs.

 MAT to March 2015

Total Digital Revenue 8.3% 6.2%
Display Advertising -8% -4%
Online Video 43% 25%
Mobile 7% 3%
Sponsorship 27% 20%
Subscriptions 29% 12%
Recruitment -13% -2%
Other classified 10% 34%

About The Association of Online Publishers

The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is an industry body representing digital publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content. AOP champions the interests of media owners from diverse backgrounds including newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media.

For more information please visit

About Deloitte

In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country’s leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities.  Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.