UK publishers generated £100.5 million in digital revenue within the first quarter of this year, showing an 8.3% hike on the same period in 2015.

Looking back on the last four years, digital revenues among publishers have risen by nearly two thirds (62%), according to new research by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte.

The news is expected to be welcomed by the publishing industry, whose members having been locking horns over how best to monetise their content, partly in response to a sharp rise in the use of ad blockers threatening a key source of revenue.  

Display advertising alone accounts for some 35% of publisher takings, but while revenue from the channel in the first quarter saw an 8% dip since last year, it’s been compensated by a healthy adoption of more diverse forms of monetisation.

A departure from display?

Revenue in Q1 from online video rose 43% year on year, shunning concerns regarding overpriced inventory and so far underdeveloped viewability metrics. Meanwhile publishers also enjoyed increased spend on subscriptions (29%) at the start of the year, as well as bigger chunk of revenue from sponsored content (27%).

“Publishers’ digital revenues are continuing to grow steadily and highlights the beginning of the shift away from display towards more creative ways of monetisation, including online video and sponsorship advertising,” said Richard Reeves, managing director at AOP.

On an annual basis – from April 2015 to March 2016 – the results followed a similar suit, with UK publishers generating combined digital earnings of £411.4 million; an increase of 6.2% from the same period a year before.

Drilling down on what was behind this, the AOP and Deloitte identified an uptick in revenue from classified ads (34%), online video (25%) and sponsorship (20%).

Reeves added: “Despite the obstacles and challenges publishers face around digital, it is promising to see media owners embracing and benefiting from the opportunities.

“This is a trend we expect to continue throughout 2016.”

The full quarterly and yearly breakdown of publisher revenue share can seen below