Publishers predict digital revenue growth

By James Riches topicIcon Internet News

Association of Online Publishers census predicts 15 per cent rise

An annual survey conducted with members of the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) reveals companies are expecting an overall growth in digital revenue of 15 per cent for 2013.

Data was compiled from 34 AOP members, representing around 700 brands. These included the BBC, Sky and Haymarket Publishing, and revealed that digital revenues accounted for an average of 34 per cent of a company's overall intake.

However, there was quite a broad range in the answers given by respondents. Figures fluctuated between 50 per cent or more for a quarter of publishers asked, down to less than 10 per cent for another quarter.

AOP also discovered how those surveyed prioritised their revenue streams, with advertising highlighted by 56 per cent. Mobile and subscriptions figured at the forefront of 47 per cent of companies, while data garnered attention from 41 per cent.

Skills, strategy and sharing

The publishers also revealed how they planned to strengthen their staff over the coming year, with analytics skills coming to the fore as a particularly desirable trait in employees. Sixty-four per cent stated analytics was their priority, compared with 58 per cent for advertising operations and 52 per cent for sales and editorial.

AOP head of research and insight Tim Cain observed that companies remain especially keen to capitalise on the advertising opportunities of digital, with sponsorship becoming a key means of increasing brand awareness. Investing in content, apps and digital editions was also a vital area for many publications.

Most intriguingly of all, 85 per cent said they had already set up links with other companies to work together on technology, something Mr Cain says marks a shift from traditional attitudes where publications may previously have been more guarded about their business and less likely to want to share knowledge.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "This survey gives us an interesting insight into the way the media operates. The differing opinions between publishers on how much digital contributes to overall revenue will make it interesting to see what the actual figures are come the end of the year.