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Publishers’ digital revenue remained static in Q1 2023, though subscriptions enjoy strong growth, reports AOP and Deloitte

Published: 12 Jun 2023

Subscription revenues increased by 18% compared to Q1 2022, while 75% of respondents report strong confidence in advertising revenue growth

London, UK, 12th June 2023: The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte reveals total digital revenue for Q1 2023 was £151.8 million, up by 0.1% from Q1 2022.

Subscriptions saw the strongest growth for the second consecutive quarter, up 18.3% compared to Q1 2022, adding to more than a year of steady growth in the category. This suggests that, despite ongoing economic pressures and intense competition in the media space, the number of consumers willing to pay for quality content has not yet plateaued. On the other hand, display formats and video revenues both declined by 11.7% and 10% respectively following static growth in the previous quarter.

When splitting revenues by platform, desktop revenues continued to fall steadily, with this quarter seeing a drop of 11.5% year-on-year. Unusually, mobile revenues also decreased, and by an even greater degree than desktop, falling 17.5% when compared to Q1 2022. Whereas previous surveys saw revenues shift from desktop to mobile, it is now multi-platform revenues picking up the shortfall, returning 7.2% growth and bringing the category’s total revenue to £109.6 million.

Digital audio also returned to centre stage, with revenues up a massive 283.3%, from £600 thousand to £2.3 million, representing a modest proportion of overall revenues but nonetheless a notable change. An “off-platform” category — representing the likes of Facebook instant articles and Apple News — has been introduced to this quarter’s survey. Off-platform returned £4 million in revenues although, as a new addition, figures are not yet steady enough to reveal trends.

Looking at sentiment, 75% of respondents showed strong confidence in advertising revenue growth in Q1 2023, up from 50% in Q1 2022. Confidence in non-advertising revenues has seen an even greater increase, from 66% up to 100% — not surprising given the continued growth of subscriptions. But, despite optimism, there are signs that economic pressures are being felt, with 75% prioritising cost reduction over the next 12 months, up from 50% in Q1 2022.

Dan Ison, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said:

“While subscription growth remains steady, publishers cannot be complacent. Consumers continue to adapt their shopping behaviours to maintain overall living standards as a result of high inflation.

“It’s no surprise that digital audio has seen an uplift in interest, especially after it has become a media form favoured by consumers post pandemic. Digital audio is an engaging format, helping to reach niche audiences and its notable ascent in revenue this quarter shows the potential it has, signalling the need for publishers to make further investments in this area.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented: “The growth of the multi-platform category shows that publishers are pursuing more complex and ambitious revenue streams and moving away from risky eggs-in-one-basket approaches. This talks to the fact publishers are having more big brand conversations and more direct dialogue with advertisers and agencies.

“I’m excited to see how the newly introduced “off-platform” category informs our findings going forward, as efficiently pushing content to as many channels as possible has become a core strategy for many of our members.”


Notes to Editor

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

AOP & Deloitte DPRI report

MAT to Mar 2023 vs. MAT to Mar 2022

(% change)

Q1 2023 vs. Q1 2022

(% change)

Total DPRI revenue



Display advertising






Online Video









Other Classified






Off Platform



About the DPRI Report

The Q1 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 Q1 2023; the publisher sentiment index considers Board member observations given in Q2 2023 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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