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December 17, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:52am

Guardian claims a record 1m paying readers after surge in regular contributions and subscriptions

By William Turvill

The Guardian has more than one million paying subscribers and regular contributors following a surge of interest and support over the past year, new figures seen by Press Gazette show.

The British news group, which has large operations in the United States and Australia, says it now has 352,000 subscriptions to its paid-for apps and tablet editions thanks to 60% year-on-year growth.

In addition, as of the end of November, it had 548,000 recurring contributors – including people categorised as members and patrons – up 33% on the previous year’s figure. The Guardian started asking readers for contributions to support its journalism in 2016.

Added together, the Guardian now has 900,000 digital subscribers and supporters – up 268,000, or 43%, over the past year. This means the news organisation ranks seventh in Press Gazette’s new 100k Club – a new league of English-language news groups by digital-only subscriptions.

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The publisher’s print products – the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Weekly – have also seen an 11% year-on-year growth in subscriptions to 119,000, a record high for the group.

Including 530,000 one-off donations it received in the year to October 2020, the Guardian has attracted 1.5m paying readers – supporters and subscribers – over the past 12 months.

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Readers choose how much they would like to contribute to the Guardian, so levels of payment will vary. The ‘Support the Guardian’ page on its website gives readers the option to contribute £4-16 monthly, £75-500 annually, or £35-280 as a one-off donation. Readers can alternatively choose ‘other’ to contribute a different amount monthly, annually or as a one-off.

The group said its coverage of Covid-19, the Black Lives Matter movement and the US election – which on 4 November prompted the website’s record day for traffic, with 190m page views and 52.9m unique browsers – have all been significant drivers of support. Its climate pledge is also said to have boosted support.

Read more: The 100k Club: Most popular subscription news websites in the world revealed

Chief executive Annette Thomas said: “It is an incredible testament to Guardian journalism that so many new readers have supported us financially over the last year.  As we look ahead, deepening our relationships with more readers and growing our digital reader revenues will be central to the Guardian’s future strategy and long-term success.”

Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner said: “In this very challenging year, readers have come to the Guardian in record numbers for rigorous, trusted reporting that holds the powerful to account. From our series of sensational scoops to useful coronavirus explainers to our brilliant US election coverage, it is thanks to the support of our readers that we are able to keep our journalism open and available to all, not just those who can afford it.”

Picture credit: Lonndubh/ Shutterstock

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