LONDON, 30 Mar 2009

The results from the seventh annual Census survey released today by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) reveals that UK online publishers predict a 16% growth in their digital revenues in 2009 – digital revenues are defined as income generated from various sources including online advertising (eg: display, classified, search); subscriptions; paid content, eCommerce, Sponsorship and commercial content.

This unique, forward look at businesses in 2009 surveys AOP members: trusted publishing brands, with loyal and engaged audiences, which are in a key position to provide a snapshot of the online publishing industry. As producers of original, branded, premium and quality content they represent the broad range of newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting and pure online media. AOP member companies were responsible for a total in excess of £800m in digital revenues in 2008.

The Census was conducted from 9 February-2 March 2009. Against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, digital publishers remain pragmatic about the long-term future of their businesses, but are intent on investing in people skills and business functions in 2009. 63% of online publishers expect to increase their digital investment this year, with only 7% anticipating a decrease in investment.

Alison Reay, AOP Chairman and Digital & Multi-media Director Telegraph Media Group, said, “Given the global trading climate we’re operating in, this is a motivating insight into the mood of UK publishers for the coming year – and it’s encouraging that they remain focused on developing their offering for their audiences in both B2B and B2C areas. AOP members are able to draw on a diverse range of revenue streams, and are less dependent on advertising income only. They are therefore able to offer a strong and credible stance in defending their business position in 2009.”

Pressure on advertising pricing and the development of multi-media sales teams are challenges that were raised by publishers in this year’s survey. Respondents to the Census have highlighted that they will invest in better skilled teams and technical infrastructure; priorities for investment identified are in building offline and online cross-media skilled teams (51%); and in technology and innovation (28%).

One of the main trends to emerge from the study is the move towards integration of staff across traditional and digital businesses, with 65% of respondents expecting more functions across departments including advertising planning/research; editorial; product/brand research and advertising sales - to be integrated in 2009.

Training remains an important area of investment with 40% increasing their budgets, and 51% keeping their training budgets at the same level as 2008. Audience Development features regularly in the Census – in 2009 this is identified as the top skills priority for attention by members questioned.

2/ AOP UK Census 2009

In a change in format, the AOP Census has been split into two parts this year and was conducted in-house under the supervision of Tim Cain, AOP’s Head of Research and Insight, appointed in January 2009.

The initial Census report published today provides an overview of the online publishing industry and future planning: including business achievement and revenue. The second part of the Census survey, due to be conducted and published later in the year, will cover content, content delivery, trends, opinions, threats and opportunities.

Tim Cain, AOP’s Head of Research and Insight added, “This year’s Census has highlighted that the revenue model for advertising doesn’t appear to be significantly shifting. Whilst we’re seeing CPC increasingly adopted as a pricing mechanism (up 50% year on year) the advertising model is still predominantly led by CPM (89%) and sponsorship (84%), which are also being used more widely amongst publishers.”

- ends -

Editor’s Notes

• The AOP Census, currently in its seventh year, is an annual survey of AOP members’ businesses to provide an insight into the digital publishing industry, and provides a benchmark for members.
• The survey, fieldwork, analysis and management of the AOP Census was conducted by the AOP under the supervision of Tim Cain, Head of Research and Insight appointed in January 2009.
• Methodology: an online questionnaire was sent to AOP member companies and a selection of PPA members. Fieldwork was conducted from 9 February-2 March 2009 collected on four areas: brands and business functions; staffing and skills; revenues and investments; biggest challenges. The figures quoted are not audited and are provided as an indication of revenue derived by AOP members completing the survey and revenue section.
• Alison Reay - Digital & Multi-media Director Telegraph Media Group - was appointed Chairman of the AOP in October 2009. Tim Faircliff – General Manager of Consumer Media at Thomson Reuters – was appointed as Co-Chair from March 2009 working with Alison.

Further information from:
Liz Somerville, Acting Director AOP 020 7400 7510 / liz.somerville@ukaop.org.uk
Lorette Nettar, PR AOP 07968 521 684 / lorette.nettar@ukaop.org.uk

About AOP
The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is the industry body representing online publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content. AOP champions the interests of companies from newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media. The AOP raises awareness, lobbies and addresses concerns relating to all areas of online publishing to industry and Government; covering topics such as paid-for-content, online subscription models, data protection, copyright, content management, new technologies and audience measurement. AOP publishes original research including the annual Census now in its seventh year. It also hosts forums, conferences and events, where members can debate issues, meet peers and network.

AOP Members include AN Digital, Bauer Consumer Media, BBC, BBC Worldwide, BSkyB, CBS Interactive, Channel 4 New Media, Condé Net UK, Dennis Publishing, Economist Group, Financial Times, Future, Global Radio, Guardian Media Group plc, Guardian News & Media, Haymarket Media Group, Hearst Digital, Incisive Media, Independent New Ventures, IPC Media, ITV, News International Ltd, PPA, Reed Business Information, Telegraph Media Group Ltd, Thomson Reuters, Trinity Mirror, TSL Education, Which? www.ukaop.org.uk

Published on: 4:22AM on 30th March 2009