Reader revenue tops $130 million at The Guardian
Those annoying yellow banner ads on The Guardian's website suggesting readers dig deep for journalism have worked.
The Guardian Media Group said that it has raised about $130 million in reader revenue, according to a spokesman for the company, helping put the paper on a better financial path.
The Guardian's online coverage of Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal along with its journalism about America's heartland have helped convince readers to reach into their pockets to support the paper. The reader revenue figure includes subscriptions, newspaper sales and voluntary donations.
As paywalls have proliferated across the internet, The Guardian continues to give its stories away for free and is still losing money doing it — but is losing much less.
Back in 2016, the newspaper was in a rocky financial situation, closing offices and cutting staff. Last year, the company reduced its losses by two-thirds and is hoping to break even in its fiscal year 2018, which ends in April next year, according to Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel. He set forth the company’s future vision at a soiree held at the home of Richard and Claudia Edelman on Tuesday evening.
The Guardian’s operating losses were $75 million in 2015-16. Now, their losses are $25 million, according to the company. Revenue is up one percent on the prior year to $282 million, according to spokesman Brendan O'Grady.
Pemsel said he was urged to erect a paywall but demurred, noting that the number of supporters (people who pay for a membership or one-off articles) had risen from 10,000 to 900,000 in the latest full year.
"When I started this role, the advice to me and our editor-in-chief Katharine Viner was simple - cut costs and put up a pay wall," Pemsel said. "We wanted to explore a different model, recognizing the huge reach and impact the Guardian has achieved., but also finding a way of asking readers to give us greater financial support."