UK Publishers Expect Even Slower Online Revenue Growth

The days of web sales nearly doubling each year are long gone. UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) members – who forecast 31 percent higher online income in 2008 and 16 percent in 2009 – now expect 2010 growth of just 10 percent.

And that forecast is only being made by half of AOP annual census respondents. The association will only detail a membership-wide forecast of merely “positive revenue growth”, suggesting the average growth forecast is small.

In other words, online publishers – who have always had reason to be bullish because their medium offers advertisers more bang-for-buck – have lost their confidence as the ad downturn has flattened their perpetual up-curve.

More from the survey…

— Three quarters of survey respondents are planning more digital investment.

— But they may call in help to do so: 60 percent plan to do more technology-partnering.

— Nearly a half say ad sales is a top-three priority, a third put editorial skills in that bracket, and a quarter say the same of database skills.

— Half of publishers expect to increase staff this year (so how do many explain chucking a fifth of workers on the bonfire last year?).

— “Media owners are still finding it hard to fill vacancies in most disciplines, editorial being the notable exception” – given the number of journalists laid off in the last year, this hardly seems credible.

— Some AOP members are placing a lot of faith in video advertising, with AOP’s chairman saying video income “can be as big as you want it to be”. If you say so…