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DPRI graphic Q3 2021

AOP and Deloitte report 31% growth in total digital publishing revenues in Q3 2021

Published: 15 Dec 2021

Total digital publishing revenue rose to £149.4mn in Q3 2021, a rise of 31%

London, UK, Tuesday 14th December 2021: The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte has revealed sustained growth in digital publishing revenues in the third quarter of 2021, up 31% from Q3 2020, with 84% of AOP board members reporting positive revenue growth.

Display advertising remains the largest category by revenue for publishers, achieving growth of 29.8% to £59.8 million in Q3 2021, in comparison to the same period in 2020. The continued impressive growth of sponsorship revenues, which increased by 69.9% compared to Q3 2020, marks another notable development.

Subscription revenues have also seen year-on-year growth, rising by 24% in Q3 2021. Meanwhile, smartphone and tablet devices, as well as online video revenue saw substantial growth from Q3 2020 to Q3 2021, increasing by 86.6% and 304.2% respectively.

Revenues from digital audio, incorporating internet radio and podcasts, reported a surge of 520.6%, with revenues catapulting from £0.6 million from September 2020 to £3.4 million in September 2021.

B2B and B2C publishing revenues experienced growth both on a twelve-month rolling basis and as a year-on-year change. B2B revenue increased by 15.5% in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020, with a moving annual total of 5.3% equalling £49.8 million. Meanwhile, B2C recorded an uptick of 32.8% relative to Q3 2020, and a moving annual total of 22.5% to September 2021.

Despite a majority of respondents declaring continuous revenue growth, AOP board member confidence has fallen slightly, both in terms of the publishing industry as well as their company’s financial prospects. However, there is a suggestion of recovery in the fact that 100% of respondents considered new products to be a priority in the next 12 months— up from 55% in comparison to Q3 2020 — while cost reduction targets are taking a backseat, with 33% of publishers citing this as a priority, in comparison to 55% who said the same in Q3 2020.

Dan Ison, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said: "After withstanding the challenges of 2020, the digital publishing market has triumphed in 2021. The colossal rise in digital audio revenue comes as smart speaker adoption continues to grow. We know that 35% of consumers now have access to a smart speaker, up from 29% in 2020, with podcast and internet radio audiences also growing steadily. Digital publishers are finally tuning in to the new opportunities that audio channels offer."

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “These impressive revenue figures are the result of publishers’ continued determination this year. As we close the chapter on 2021, the challenges for the year ahead remain undetermined, so, as an industry, we must continue to remain resilient and collaborate to tackle any imbalance and inefficiencies we could be faced with. A major factor in this will be diversification in revenue strategies, which has already been a major focus for this year, supported by the exponential growth in online video and digital audio this quarter.”


Notes to Editor

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

AOP & Deloitte DPRI report

MAT to September 21 vs. MAT to September 20

(% change)

Q3 2021 vs. Q3 2020

(% change)

Total DPRI revenue



Display Advertising






Online Video









Other Classified






About the DPRI Report

The Q3 2021 DPRI report – conducted by AOP and Deloitte – is based on a survey of 15 UK digital publishers comprising 11 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 Q3 2021; the publisher sentiment index considers Board member observations given in Q4 2021 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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Deloitte Press Contact

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