The Guardian hits target to break even

Media owner cites rise in online traffic and contributions, as well as cost-cutting.

Pemsel: 'a more reader-funded, more digital, more international business'
Pemsel: 'a more reader-funded, more digital, more international business'

Guardian News & Media has broken even, recording operating profits of £800,000 for the 2018/19 financial year, up from losses of £19m in 2017/18. This is a significant improvement on losses of £57m in 2015/16.

The publisher of The Guardian and The Observer attributed the "completion of its three-year turnaround strategy" to a rise in online traffic and contributions from readers, as well as reducing costs by more than 20%.

Meanwhile, ad revenue grew 3% in the 2018/19. The full financial results will be published in July.

The news titles recorded more than 1.35 billion page views in March 2018, up 71% from 790 million in April 2016. There are now more than 655,000 monthly paying supporters made up of subscribers, recurring contributors and members. GNM also took on 300,000 one-off contributions over the past 12 months.

On cost reductions, a spokeswoman told Campaign that this was done by analysing contracts, office space and moving to a tabloid format which "has provided significant reduction in costs of several million". She added: "We also ran a voluntary redundancy programme early in the strategy and reduced our headcount by 450 across the organisation."

The company has also said that revenues are at the highest point in 10 years at £233m, up 3% year on year. GNM reported that 55% of its revenues are digital and added that there has been "good growth" in digital advertising, digital subscriptions and reader contributions.

David Pemsel, chief executive of GNM parent Guardian Media Group, said: "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.

"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."

Pemsel and Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of Guardian News and Media, revealed a new three-year strategy last month with plans for two million paid supporters.

In a message to readers this morning, Viner thanked them for their support and added: "Three years ago we faced a very different situation, when a broken business model for news was threatening to destroy media organisations around the world: print advertising was collapsing, newspaper sales were declining, and the promise of digital advertising growth was going almost entirely to Google and Facebook. These threats still exist, and while we’ve found a way to counter them, the situation remains fragile."