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AOP and Deloitte report digital publishing revenues up by 13.4% in Q4 2021

Published: 17 Mar 2022

Total digital publishing revenue grew to £174million in Q4 2021, up by 13.4% compared to Q4 2020, with growth across all revenue categories

The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte has revealed continued growth in digital publishing revenues in the fourth quarter of 2021, up 13.4% from Q4 2020.

During Q4 2021, recruitment classified took first place as the largest category by growth, increasing by 59.9% to £5.6million. Sponsorship revenues and subscriptions have also stood out for recording impressive growth, up by 29.1% and 19.1% respectively in Q4 2021. Display advertising held its position as the largest category by revenue for digital publishers; with income reaching £77.4million in Q4 2021, an increase of 12.5% against Q4 2020.

On mobile devices, video revenue saw impressive growth, surging by 325% in Q4 2021 versus Q4 2020, and digital audio followed suit at 200% growth. However, the main driver for mobile revenue growth has been display advertising, rising from £7.6million to £16.5million, a 117.1% increase from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021.

B2B and B2C experienced an uptick in publishing revenues, both on a 12-month rolling basis and as a year-on-year change. B2B revenue increased by 19.1% in Q4 2021 relative to Q4 2020, from £13.1million to £15.6 million, with a moving annual total of 10.8%, amounting to £52.3million. Meanwhile, B2C grew 12.8% relative to Q4 2020, from £140.4 million to £158.4 million, and a moving annual total of 19.6% to December 2021 driven by sponsorship and digital audio.

With over half of respondents (58%) reporting positive revenue growth, AOP board member confidence in their own companies has increased. All respondents (100%) believe that new products will be a high priority for their business over the next 12 months, compared to 56% in Q4 2020, however cost reduction targets remain a key focus.

Dan Ison, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said: “The digital publishing market posted impressive 13.4% growth over the course of 2021, as consumers across the UK continued to invest in quality, trustworthy reporting. In the final quarter of 2021, we’ve seen significant growth in revenues of around 60% within recruitment classified channels, driven by employers across the country competing in the race for talent. Organisations are looking to capitalise on the large audience among digital publications to attract the eyes of possible candidates. However, as households face a rise in everyday living expenses, the cost of digital publishing subscriptions may be called into question. To maintain a strong subscriber base, publishers must focus on emphasising the rigour of their reporting, while improving the accessibility of their online platforms.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “With all respondents prioritising new products or service expansions in the next 12 months, publishers continue to innovate and implement new revenue streams, alongside display advertising. A notable shift this quarter was the impressive revenue growth from mobile, especially relating to video and digital audio. While video has always been a valuable and engaging format, and audio is quickly following suit, these latest revenue figures show that publishers are now seeing more success in monetising this content and responding to changing consumer behaviours.”


Notes to Editor

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

AOP & Deloitte DPRI report

MAT to December 21 vs. MAT to December 20

(% change)

Q4 2021 vs. Q4 2020

(% change)

Total DPRI revenue



Display Advertising






Online Video









Other Classified






About the DPRI Report

The Q4 2021 DPRI report – conducted by AOP and Deloitte – is based on a survey of 11 UK digital publishers comprising seven 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 2021; the publisher sentiment index considers Board member observations given in Q1 2022 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

AOP Press Contact

Kerry Ritchie, GingerMay


Tel: +44 (0) 203 642 1124

Deloitte Press Contact

Lizzie Tantam, Deloitte PR


Tel: +44 (0) 207 007 2911


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