LONDON: UK digital publisher advertising revenues rose 16.2% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, with online video being the main driver of growth, according to new research.

The Digital Publishers' Revenue Index study, produced by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte, tracked actual digital revenue across 27 AOP publisher members and found that while 66% of respondents reported positive total advertising growth in the first quarter of 2013, fully 100% of AOP board members expected to see growth in the second quarter.

The strong start to the year was primarily down to online video, which grew four times as fast as other formats, at 56.4% year on year.

Display increased 13.7% while sponsorship was up 12.3%. Recruitment advertising followed on 11.0%, with other forms of classified advertising growing 3.1% during the same period.

"Despite taking a fairly cautious view of growth earlier in the year, Q1 results actually indicate a strong upside for publishers," said Tim Cain, head of research and insight for the Association of Online Publishers.

"This has fuelled a more positive expectation for the coming twelve months," he added.

Howard Davies, Deloitte media partner, noted: "We're starting to see greater optimism across the market and the digital advertising industry continues to grow strongly as new formats and concepts become embedded."

Breaking the figures down further, the B2C sector demonstrated an acceleration in growth: 20% in Q1 2013 compared to 8.7% in Q1 2012. In contrast, B2B growth had slowed to 2.1% from 6% in the same periods, largely due to the slowdown in growth of display advertising for the B2B group.

"The differences between B2B and B2C sectors are perhaps starker than some would expect but probably reflect the shift in the B2B sector towards more data driven revenues," remarked Davies.

While AOP board members were unanimously positive about digital growth in the current quarter, they expected to see the highest increases in the FMCG, Retail, Telecoms, and Automotive advertising sectors over the coming twelve months.

Data sourced from AOP; additional content by Warc staff