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Digital revenue growth among online publishers in the UK is expected to grow by 15 per cent in 2013 according to the fifth annual organisation census by the Association of Online Publishers, while technology and data will play an increased role in revenue streams and recruitment policy.

Advertising is still the main source of revenue for the majority of members but the changing nature of the industry is seen as playing a key role in diversifying revenue.

"Publishers or media companies are becoming more like technology businesses," said Tim Cain, head of insight and research at the AOP, in conversation with Journalism.co.uk, "as they strive to develop their platforms and their ability to deliver, not just content, but content and advertising across different devices to the growing consumer need."

Data, mobile and apps are a growing focus alongside advertising, as 88 per cent plan to increase investment in technology. Of that total, mobile and apps is the top priority for respondents while responsive design comes second and data third.

These trends are reflected in recruitment policy as 62 per cent of respondents expect to take on more staff over the coming year with developers and analysts the two highest priority areas, ahead of ad sales for the first time.

"Increasingly businesses are having to invest in new skills because of the way the digital media business is developing," Cain added. "So areas like analytics are becoming more important within the business understanding essentially what's going on within your brand online, particularly developers."

Other key findings include analytics being the top priority for investment, followed by advert operations and editorial, and that collaboration between businesses is becoming increasingly important in offsetting investment costs as 85 per cent of respondents said they would or already are collaborating with other publishers.

John Barnes, AOP chairman, said in a statement: "Technology is proving a key focus for driving revenue growth but is increasingly a major challenge.

"Digital media owners must deliver a consistent, top-quality user experience with full content engagement across multiple devices and platforms, where the commercial model for each individual channel does not automatically offer a return on the required investment. Improving reader revenues and revenues from assets such as data is going to help."

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