At first glance an annual loss of £30.6 million is not news a company should shout about. But for Guardian News & Media the numbers behind that figure gave Chief Executive Andrew Miller a lot to be happy with when he was interviewed by Gideon Spanier in the Independent on 9 July.
Because behind the loss – which had improved from last year – was a seven per cent growth in revenues led by digital incomes – increasing from £55.9 million to £69.5 million. A pretty impressive rise of 24 per cent. The Guardian’s figure for digital revenues even overshadows the other behemoth of online media, MailOnline.
So how are newspapers looking to secure their place in the new age of publishing? It certainly seems that many UK publications are setting their sights on digital success overseas. Last month the MailOnline announced a heavy-hitting digital hire with former BuzzFeed President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Steinberg becoming CEO for North America. The website is already the top newspaper site in the English-speaking world and number two in the U.S. The hire of Jon Steinberg suggests MailOnline recognises the threat of ‘news lite’ sites like BuzzFeed and is being proactive in its strategy to secure its current position.
The Guardian, too, is looking to cement its position in the huge US market. As highlighted in Gideon Spanier’s article, the publishing of Edward Snowden’s revelations massively helped bring the Guardian to the attention of the American audience and it is currently the world’s third biggest online newspaper. The next step for Guardian News & Media is to open an office in the States.
And what impact will social media have on the future success of newspapers? It is certainly becoming the place for news to be broken, often by members of the public, but also by journalists who are on the scene, or – in the case of our litigation PR work – in the Court room. The reliance the general public place on publications and their journalists for news on social media is evident by the vast number of followers they have.
And then we have the traditional print medium of newspapers, the death of which many are predicting. I am not going to guess the outlook for this staple of British life, but I can certainly say that at our office the hard copies of all the newspapers are still poured over by the team every morning and I can’t imagine a Sunday at home without the Sunday papers and their varied supplements. I’m therefore keeping my fingers crossed that there will still be a place for the hard stuff in our lives as the digital revolution continues apace.