Guardian targets 2m financial supporters with 'focus on subscriptions' to help boost revenue

Guardian targets 2m financial supporters with 'focus on subscriptions' to help boost revenue

Guardian News and Media aims to have 2m financial supporters by 2022 and grow revenues through a “focus on subscriptions”, it has said.

The news group’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and chief executive David Pemsel told staff about the plans in an email earlier today and said they want the newspaper to become “financially sustainable”.

The pair said GNM was still on track to break even in its finances this year under its three-year plan to turn its fortunes around.

Viner (pictured) said last November that the Guardian had received donations from more than 1m people since March 2016.

In an email, which was shared on Twitter, Viner and Pemsel told staff: “One of the great successes of the past three years has been the willingness of readers to support our journalism and our purpose.

“As we look ahead, we are setting a new goal for the whole organisation: to attract two million people to support the Guardian by the end of our 200th anniversary year, in 2022.”

Setting out further goals, Viner and Pemsel said GNM planned to “grow our reader revenues, with a focus on subscriptions alongside our successful contributions model” and “build a more purposeful and financially sustainable organisation”.

Press Gazette asked The Guardian if becoming more “financially sustainable” would involve further cuts.

A spokesperson said: “We will continue to manage our finances sustainably however our aim is to do that through a combination of revenue growth and careful cost management.”

The Guardian also said it had “no intention to move to a paywall model”, but planned to grow existing print and digital subscriptions.

The email to staff also touched on the Guardian’s finances ahead of annual results set to be published later this month.

Viner and Pemsel claimed that the Guardian US and Australia had “doubled their revenues since 2016” and were “financially sustainable in their own right”, adding that print and digital subs were at “a record high”.

The pair continued: “We have reduced our costs by 20 per cent, while growing our revenues steadily over the last three years. The business has performed in line with expectations since January and we remain on track to achieve our goal of breaking even at an operating level.”

They did not say whether the newspaper would achieve that aim in its upcoming results, writing that its finance team was finalising its numbers for the 2018/19 financial year for an announcement at the end of April.

Guardian News and Media reported an EBITDA before exceptional items loss of £18.6m in the year ending 1 April 2018 – an improvement on £38.9m of losses the year before.

Picture: Graeme Robertson



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