The Guardian has reported lower-than-expected losses as it enters the final year of its three-year recovery plan, with bosses saying it’s on track to break even.
As The Drum reported last year, the Guardian has massively increased the revenues from paying readers – to the point where it now outweighs that generated by advertising.
In 2017, the publisher attracted 200,000 more paying readers to take its total number of financial supporters to over 800,000. Of these about 200,000 are print or digital subscribers, more than 300,000 are members or regular contributors, and more than 300,000 gave one-off contributions, it said.
This uptick in reader revenues offset the steep declines it saw in print ad revenue.
“We have achieved very rapid growth in our reader revenues - contributions, membership and subscriptions - across the UK, US, Australia and the rest of the world,” said editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and David Pemsel, the chief executive of parent company, Guardian Media Group in a joint statement
It still reported a loss £19m loss in the year to the end of March, though that was half the £38m loss recorded in the previous financial year and better than its internal target of £25m.
When The Guardian embarked on its plan to reshape the business it was facing loses of £57m.
“We enter year three with the goal to break even, but we still face challenges and uncertainties," said Viner and Pemsel. "This unpredictability makes sensible financial and business planning more critical than ever, and so we are already beginning to look beyond the coming year and plan how we invest for the long-term future.”
It called out the decision to shift to a tabloid format in January as one of the key moves to have delivered savings of £17m in the past year.
Total revenues increased by 1% to £216m, marking the second consecutive year of growth.
Looking ahead, it said it is "well on track" to make the Guardian sustainable and break even at operating level by 2018-19.
Read The Drum’s interview with David Pemsel on the secrets behind the rise in reader payments.