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AOP and Deloitte Data Shows Growth in Subscription, Audio, and Sponsorship Revenues for Publishers, Offset by Drop in Display Advertising

Published: 19 Mar 2024

Overall revenues down slightly by 1.8% while half of publishers report positive growth

London, UK, 19 March: The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte reveals strong growth in subscription, audio, and sponsorship revenues year-on-year (YoY) for digital publishers, though overall digital revenue for Q4 2023 was down by 1.8% from Q4 2022, for a total of £174 million.

Subscriptions and digital audio continued their trend towards growth, increasing by 10.3% and 300% respectively, while sponsorships saw an increase of 31.1%. Combined, these growth areas increased total revenues by £12.6 million. The “miscellaneous” category also saw significant growth at 117.6%, which is likely attributed to monetisation of first-party data assets.

A 17.2% fall in display advertising revenues — representing £13.3 million — offset the gains elsewhere, indicating this channel was the prime target for cuts as advertising budgets were tightened last year. Video advertising revenues fell by 24.5%, but the overall impact was slight as this category represents just 4.6% of total revenues.

Overall multi-platform revenues grew by 17.3%, while mobile and desktop-specific revenues fell by 54.5% and 33.8% respectively, consistent with long-term trends. Within multi-platform, the drop in display revenues was a modest 1.8%, while the equivalent category fell by 31.2% in desktop and 37.9% in mobile, revealing the primary source of display revenue contraction.

Half (50%) of publishers reported positive revenue growth for the quarter and AOP board member confidence in both their companies and the wider industry saw a slight increase. All respondents placed new products and non-advertising revenues as top priorities, while cost reductions were a priority for three-quarters (75%) of respondents, up from half (50%) in the prior quarter.

Andy Cowen, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said: “This quarter’s results are a wakeup call suggesting that relying on display revenues is a risk for publishers, as subscriptions continue growing year on year. Audio meanwhile is a small but bright star, recording a 300% increase this quarter, following a 500% increase the previous quarter. Should this trend continue, this currently modest category could become a key revenue driver, and should be a priority for publishers seeking diversified, incremental growth.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “The future of publisher revenues is clearly in diversification, and the gulf between multi-platform and platform-specific revenues widens. This is partly down to platform decisions — an 86.4% fall in off-platform revenues on mobile is no doubt tied to Facebook’s decision to cut referrals — but also due to the multi-device nature of modern content consumption and advertisers’ resulting preference for omnichannel campaigns. Publishers planning to put their revenue eggs in many baskets would be wise to pay attention to audio’s meteoric growth, as well as the seemingly unstoppable rise in subscriptions.”


Notes to Editor

UK Digital Publisher Revenue (based on revenues for AOP publisher members)

AOP & Deloitte DPRI report

MAT to Dec 2023 vs. MAT to Dec 2022

(% change)

Q4 2023 vs. Q4 2022

(% change)

Total DPRI revenue



Display advertising






Online Video









Other Classified






Off Platform



About the DPRI Report

The Q4 2023 DPRI report — conducted by AOP and Deloitte — is based on a survey of 13 UK digital publishers comprising nine 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 these findings against previous quarters.

While the DPRI revenue index records a look-back of data over Q4 2023; the publisher sentiment index considers Board member observations given in Q1 2024 to provide a timelier understanding of current feelings. This is a reporting change implemented in 2019.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

About Association of Online Publishers

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 one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

For more information, please visit


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