Digital publishing revenues climb as subscriptions see positive growth

Multi-platform and mobile devices were the winners of revenue growth in Q3, while a growth in subscriptions indicates that even in a cost of living crisis, consumers will pay for quality content.

Digital publishing revenue grew by 2.7% in Q3 2022 compared to the previous year, with 50% of publishers reporting positive growth.

The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte reveals total digital revenue for Q3 2022 stood at £153.5m.

Multi-platform and mobile devices saw the strongest gains in revenue by platform, up 5.9% and 15.7% respectively, compared to Q3 2021. But revenue from desktop-only devices continued to decline by 16.9% – from £30.2 million in Q3 2021 to £25.1 million in Q3 2022 – while desktop-only display dipped by 6.6% year-on-year.

Subscription revenues showed a positive display, up 12.1% compared to Q3 2021, indicating consumer desire to pay to get access to quality content. Meanwhile recruitment classifieds was up 21.4% in Q3 this year, with an even stronger growth of 27.3% for ‘other’ classifieds, while display advertising showed steady growth of 13.9% to reach £68.1m in Q3 2022.

Digital publishing revenue on an uptick

Over the rolling 12 months to September 2022, digital revenue has climbed to £632.1m – or a rise of 6.6%.

Both B2B and B2C publishers saw growth – with B2B revenue increasing by 12.2% to £55.9m driven by display formats, classifieds and subscriptions. B2C revenue grew by 6.1%.

All of the DPRI’s survey respondents believed that new products will continue to be a high priority for their business over the next year, alongside non-advertising growth (83%) and cost reduction targets (66%).

Dan Ison, Lead Partner for Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment at Deloitte, said: “The ongoing growth of the digital publishing market, despite increased strain on spending power, is a reflection of the tenacity of publishers and a strong online market. Recruitment classified channels remained the biggest performer this quarter as employers continued to use their digital platforms as a key tool to attract talent.”

“Meanwhile, the sustained growth of display advertising and subscriptions represents the fierce appetite for digital content. It is clear that consumers are still willing to pay for top-tier content, even with squeezed budgets, which paints a positive outlook for publishing.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “While unsurprising to see the ongoing decline of desktop, as publishers continue to prioritise shorter, punchier editorial across devices like mobile, it was interesting to note just how steep the drop in revenue was for the platform this quarter.

“Back on the positive side of things, the boost in subscriptions revenue is very encouraging and reinforces the crucial role quality content creators play in the future of digital. At a time when false information is rife, it’s clear people are more willing than ever to pay for quality content they can trust.”