Guardian newspaper losses accelerate amid industry's advertising struggles

 
William Turvill
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Guardian Newspaper Changes to Mid-Size Format
The Guardian currently has a daily print circulation of around 170,000, according to ABC (Source: Getty)

The publisher of the Guardian newspaper has reported accelerated losses amid advertising struggles.

The figures

Guardian Media Group’s revenue for its 2015/16 financial year totalled £209.5m, down £8m from the year before.

Despite an online push, the Guardian’s digital revenues were down nearly £2m to £81.9m. Print advertising revenue, meanwhile, was down 15 per cent.

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The Guardian said that, not including one-off costs, its pre-tax loss for the year was £68.7m – down from a loss of £14.7m the year before.

In addition, with exceptional items totalling £104m, including an £84m writedown in the value of its stake in business publisher Ascential, its total loss was £173m.

Why it's interesting

Earlier this year, GMG announced it was cutting around 250 jobs in a bid to break even. The company has introduced a strategy to cut costs by 20 per cent over the next three years.

However, the results revealed that the number of editorial and production staff employed by the Guardian increased during the year, from 925 to 1,050. Some 268 voluntary redundancies have since been taken in the current 2016/17 financial year as part of the cuts.

In May the board of the Scott Trust, which funds the Guardian, exiled former editor Alan Rusbridger from taking on a role as Scott Trust chairman, after many in its management team argued he was responsible for falling profits and overspending at the newspaper.

GMG, which also publishes the Observer newspaper, is far from the only newspaper company to suffer this year, with many others reporting falling revenues and cutting jobs as a result.

Read more: "Good result, job done": Meet the Independent newspaper's last chief exec

Chief executive David Pemsel said that while print revenue should continue to fall, digital advertising is expected to grow over the current financial year.

What the company said

Pemsel:

Faced with a volatile advertising market, we have taken decisive action to control our cost base, reduce headcount, and grow our revenues around membership, branded content, video and data.

We are on track to deliver a 20 per cent reduction in our cost base over the next three years, while our unique ownership structure will allow us to continue to invest in the world-class journalism that these numbers clearly show our international audiences want.

We have a hugely talented workforce and a strong global brand with well-established core values and we remain committed to achieving financial and editorial sustainability through our three-year business plan.

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