Digital Publishers Expect Economic Downturn To Hit ’08 Revenue

UK digital publishers expect revenue growth to slow significantly this year, thanks to a worsening economic climate. In its 2007 census, a sample of the 160 members of the Association of Online Publishers said they saw 52 percent annual growth in digital revenue last year – but they forecast 2008 growth of just 31 percent.

Though that’s still ahead of the eight percent expected of their businesses overall, publishers said the economy was their number-two threat – behind the threat of competition but ahead of both Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and regulation. Yet AOP director Ruth Brownlee asserted publishers are “bullish” about their prospects.

Eight in 10 publishers said the ad-supported model was a sustainable revenue stream. The same number will increase their digital staff count this year, with 62 percent reporting multi-skilling will be important.

Next targets for publishers are broadband delivery (92 percent), behavioural targeting (84 percent), UGC (78 percent), mobile (74 percent) and streaming content (70 percent). In 2007, they increased IPTV investment by 20 percent, mobile by 22 percent, vodcast by 22 percent, podcast by 17 percent and RSS by nine percent.