The annual Content & Trends Census, published by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) today, reveals UK Publishers will focus on audience profiling in the next 12 months, while driving content across mobile platforms, such as iPad/tablets and smartphones. Underpinned by commercial drivers, publishers plan to utilise their data better, and provide multi-media content access; to help develop new revenue streams.

The AOP Content & Trends Census is a forward view of the UK publishing industry, looking at business models, content delivery mechanisms and what UK publishers identify as future trends, and current opportunities and threats to their businesses. This year, responses were received from 37 Board and Affiliate AOP Members, in newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting and pure online media, representing over 1500 respected brands and publications producing original, branded, premium and quality content.

The unique survey, now in its ninth year, shows that 86% of respondents to the Census have acknowledged that they are “under-utilising [their] data assets”. AOP members have said they plan to review registration levels to access content and sites, in return for free access to some content.

Whilst advertising continues to be named as the dominant revenue generator for publishers, businesses continue to embrace different revenue models including metered access, subscriptions, micro-payments, freemium or a combined subscription package for online and offline content. Of these, publishers expect to adopt freemium and micro-payments more widely in the next 12 months.

Tim Cain, Head of Research and Insight at AOP who managed the research project says, “The Content and Trends Census has emphasised the growing importance of data to publishers, an area all are actively involved in developing, with many currently in a period of learning and experimentation. However, as interest in data develops, the threat of regulation, via government and legal restrictions, and in particular the EU Privacy Directive, are seen to be the major threats the industry faces, with the only bigger threat being the economy.”
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2/ UK Publishers Focus on Value of Data in AOP Contents & Trends Census 2011

Publishers have indicated that they are increasingly taking a platform-agnostic approach: iPad/tablet apps and digital editions are now seen by 42% of publishers as the primary platforms for paid content. Compared to last year when publishers believed the main opportunity for paid content would be through their core website.

The revenue opportunity on mobile devices is seen by publishers as greatest through mobile apps sponsorship; unique mobile ad formats via apps and mobile internet sponsorship.
Publishers have demonstrated their conviction, as eight in ten publishers have invested in m.sites, and almost nine in ten publishers have sites optimised for mobile. Digital editions are being published by 3 out of 4 publishers, and almost one in two are publishing via an eReader.

Tim Cain, Head of Research and Insight at AOP, continues, “The other strong thread running through this year’s Census is the emphasis on mobile devices and the focus on opportunities for publishing via smartphone and tablets. The Census indicated that four out of ten publishers see mobile internet development and mobile apps as the most significant trend of the next 12 months, and a further 20% believe that leading trend to be specifically in the shape of iPad and other tablets as a platform for digital editions.”

Top 3 Opportunities (% of publishers seeing opportunity/major opportunity for their businesses in the next 12 months)
1. iPad/other tablets (94%)
2. Adoption of smartphones (92%)
3. Mobile Web (81%)

Top 3 Threats (% of publishers identifying threats or major threats in the next 12 months)
1. Economy (67%)
2. Government & Legal Restrictions (50%)
3. EU privacy directive (48%)

Lee Baker, Director of AOP, adds, “The Census is a valuable insight into the UK digital publishing landscape. Our members are conscious that they need to look at maximising revenue streams, and the value of the data they have through loyal and committed subscribers. We will explore this theme in the flagship AOP Summit in October, when our programme of stellar keynote speakers and panellists will discuss, debate and showcase ways that publishers can secure their commercial futures while responding to the requirements of their audiences.”

3/ UK Publishers Focus on Value of Data in AOP Contents & Trends Census 2011

The annual, one-day, flagship AOP Digital Publishing Summit with the theme “Publishers: Know Your Worth” will be held at Westminster Bridge Park Plaza on 14 October 2011. http://alturl.com/39b26

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Further information from:
Tim Cain, Head of Research and Insight, AOP - 020 7400 7510 : tim.cain@ukaop.org.uk
Lorette Nettar, PR, AOP – 07968 521 684 : lorette.nettar@ukaop.org.uk

Editor’s Notes
• The AOP Census, currently in its ninth year, is an annual survey of AOP members’ businesses to provide an insight into the digital publishing industry, and provides a benchmark for members
• Management of the AOP Content & Trends Census (survey, fieldwork, analysis) was conducted by Tim Cain, Head of Research and Insight at AOP in July/August 2011.
• This is the third year that the Census has been split into a “Content & Trends” survey published in Autumn, and an “Organisation” survey published in Spring.

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, 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 eighth year. It also hosts forums, conferences and events, where members can debate issues, meet peers and network.

The AOP hosts two annual flagship industry events, the AOP Digital Publishing Awards, held in June 2011; and the AOP Digital Publishing Summit scheduled to be held on 14 October 2011 at Westminster Bridge Park Plaza, London.

AOP Members include AN Media, Bauer Consumer Media, BBC, BBC Worldwide, BSkyB, CBS Interactive, Centaur, Condé Nast Digital, Economist Group, Future Publishing, Global Radio, Guardian Media Group, Haymarket Media Group, Incisive Media, Independent Print, IPC Media, ITV, The National Magazine Company, News International, PPA, Reed Business Information, Telegraph Media Group, Thomson Reuters, Trader Media, Trinity Mirror, TSL Education, United Business Media. www.ukaop.org.uk

Published on: 2:11PM on 9th September 2011