Wednesday, 01 May 2019 14:44 GMT

Guardian shares first profit in over 20 years

Since Katharine Viner became the editor-in-chief in 2016, Guardian Media Group (GMG) has turned a corner and is in the black for the first time since 1998.

The group has announced the “successful completion” of its three-year turnaround strategy launched by Viner and chief executive officer David Pemsel, with a 40% increase in readers across all its platforms since 2016.

“In times of extraordinary political and economic upheaval the need for quality, independent reporting and commentary has never been greater,” says Viner. “Guardian journalism is flourishing - holding the powerful to account and exploring new ideas.

“Thanks to the support of our readers and the incredible hard work and talent of Guardian staff, we have reached an important financial milestone. We are now in a sustainable position, and better able to deliver on our purpose by producing outstanding journalism that understands and illuminates our times.”

Guardian journalism is flourishing - holding the powerful to account and exploring new ideas

Guardian Media Group’s revenues have grown across each of the last three years, with revenue growth of 3% to £223m in 2018/19, making them at their highest levels for a decade.

The group shared a profit of £0.8m in the year to April having broken even at an EBITDA operating level – marking the first time the company has broken even since 1998.

Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel adds: “Over the last three years we have made a huge amount of progress, and I’m exceptionally proud of how far we’ve come. Achieving these results is testament to the absolute commitment and ingenuity of everyone within the organisation.

“We are very grateful for the support of our readers, advertisers and partners who believe in the value of high quality media.

We are very grateful for the support of our readers, advertisers and partners who believe in the value of high quality media

“GMG is now a more reader-funded, more digital, more international business. Although the significant turbulence in the global media sector shows no sign of abating any time soon, we have developed a set of core strengths which will help to ensure the Guardian’s ongoing independence and financial sustainability for the long term.”

The strategy set out to create deeper relationships with readers, increase reader revenues and reduce the company’s overall costs by 20%, with the aim of breaking even by April 2019.

The move to a tabloid format in January 2018 as well as the launch of the Guardian Weekly magazine and its new daily podcast has allowed readers to access the Guardian’s journalism across more platforms than ever before. Print subscriptions to the Guardian, the Observer and Guardian Weekly are at a record high of 110,000 in total.

Viner and Pemsel have announced the company’s next three-year plan, which will see them set out to achieve two million contributing supporters, either through one-off payments or subscriptions by 2022, and financial sustainability “by ensuring cash requirements remain in line with the expected long-term annual returns of the Scott Trust Endowment Fund of £25-30m.”

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