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Digital audio revenues up 500 per cent in Q1 - report

David Murphy

Digital publishing revenues grew 18 per cent year-on-year to £610.3m for the year to March 2022, according to the latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte.

The DPRI report is based on a survey of 12 UK digital publishers, comprising eight B2C publishers and four B2B publishers. The aim of the report is to provide an overview of revenue levels across multiple channels and platforms – as well as insight into publisher sentiment – and to benchmark findings against previous quarters.

During Q1 2022, digital audio saw the strongest growth, increasing by 500 per cent to £4.2m when compared to Q1 2021. Subscriptions also continued to show promising growth, up 14.7 per cent in Q1 2022 to reach an income of £38.2m, confirming that appetite to pay for quality journalism remains strong. Display advertising held its position as the largest category by revenue for digital publishers; with income reaching £66.4m in Q1 2022, an increase of 23.9 per cent against Q1 2021.

Multi-platform revenues saw an increase of 21.7 per cent compared to Q1 2021, while mobile devices and desktop saw revenue declines of 16.1 per cent and 35.2 per cent respectively. This indicates advertising campaigns are being run across at least two different devices, reflecting the way consumers access content across platforms.

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 revenues increased by 8.7 per cent in March 2022 relative to March 2021, increasing to £52.7m. Meanwhile, B2C revenues grew by 24.3 per cent in March 2022 vs March 2021, driven by a significant expansion in sponsorship and digital audio

Half of respondents reported positive revenue growth, with the strong majority (83 per cent) reporting “advertising revenue growth” as a high priority for their business in the next 12 months. All respondents believe new products will be a key focus for their business in the next year, however cost reduction targets also remain important.

“Many digital publishers have looked to the airwaves for growth in the past two years, launching radio offerings and podcasts that entice new audiences and spark rising revenues,” said Dan Ison, Lead Partner for Telecommunications, Media and Enertainment at Deloitte. “We know there are as many daily podcast listeners as there are online radio listeners, with one in 10 UK adults under the age of 25 now having access to a paid-for podcast subscription. Tuning into content throughout the day – whether that's while commuting, preparing dinner or driving the car – creates an intimate experience for audiences, while engendering loyalty. At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is squeezing household finances, many will be questioning the necessity of their media subscriptions. This makes it all the more important for publishers to be concentrating on the creation of regular, unmissable content.”