Digital publishers saw year-on-year revenues increase to £89.7m in Q1 2018, up 3.8% compared to Q1 2017, according to findings from the latest Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI), a quarterly report on UK publishing from the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) and Deloitte. On a 12-month rolling basis to March 2018, combined revenue has increased 5.4% to £371m.
Participants in the DPRI survey have seen a considerable revenue shift from the previous year. Almost 60% of publishers saw positive revenue growth in Q1 2018, compared to 48% in Q1 2017. Significantly, almost a quarter of publishers (24%) increased their revenue by more than 25%.
This increase can be attributed, in part, to publishers looking at alternative revenue streams. The DPRI survey found that revenue from mobile devices increased by 45% in Q1 2018 compared to Q1 2017. Confidence from publishers in offering their content on a subscription-only basis has seen subscription revenues take a significant leap, rising by 42% when compared with Q1 2017. Following a couple of years of decline, revenue from recruitment advertising grew by 18% in Q1 2018, compared with the same quarter in 2017.
There has also been a shift in priorities for future growth, with all members surveyed commenting that non-advertising revenue growth was high-priority for their business compared to 75% of those surveyed 12 months ago.
Richard Reeves, Managing Director, AOP, commented, “There has been a growing trend in exploring alternative methods to generate income, with the adoption of subscriptions increasing over time. There has been some debate within the industry regarding whether subscription models are the right direction for digital publishers, so it’s interesting to see such significant growth in this area during the first quarter of the year, as it signals consumers are increasingly willing to pay for quality, online content.
“While it is encouraging to see such a positive outlook during the first quarter of 2018, the challenge will be maintaining this optimism going forwards with the implementation of GDPR and ePrivacy regulation.”