Guardian Media Group reports $16.6m in Australian revenue after backing mixed-revenue model

Guardian Media Group has posted its Australian revenue figures for the first time, reporting a £9.3m income (AUD$16.6m), after expanding its Australian newsroom earlier this year thanks to what it called the ‘success of its mixed revenue model’.

The reporting is the first since the global group reached its goal of breaking even,  with the company reporting a 3% rise in overall revenue.

The 2019 reporting saw the group take revenues of £224.5m, up 3% on 2018’s £217.0m, made up of reader revenue, digital advertising and its international editions. The biggest jump was in digital revenues, which now make up 56% of the entire figure, at £125.3m, a 15% jump on the prior year.

Guardian Australia chose to opt for a subscription or reader donation payment model, bucking the trend of paywall content which media companies like News Corp and Nine have chosen to adopt. The Australian arm of the business announced it had turned a profit for the first time in the 2017/18 reporting, after posting significant losses the years prior.

In 2017, the business reported 65,000 paying Australian readers with 36% of its revenue coming from readers.

In terms of its size in the overall Guardian ecosystem, the online-only Guardian US and Guardian Australia operations grew to £30.8m combined in 2018/19, equivalent to 14% of the company’s global revenues.

Regarding the results, Guardian Media Group chief executive, David Pemsel, said the transformation of the business hasn’t been an easy one, but that the outcome supports the choice to back a reader-funded model.

“Achieving a third successive year of revenue growth and meeting our break-even target for Guardian News and Media (GNM) is a tribute to everyone within our organisation. GNM has been transformed in the last three years into a more reader-funded, more digital and more international business,” he said.

“Going forward we have a clear strategy and a set of strengths which will help ensure the Guardian’s sustainability despite the ongoing challenges in the global media sector.”

Guardian Media Group (GMG) chair Neil Berkett added: “Over the past three years the Group has made substantial progress – establishing and delivering on an ambitious strategy, and in the process forging a new business model for high-quality journalism, true to the Guardian’s purpose.

“Achieving the break-even target for GNM for the first time since the 1990s is an outstanding result. As we look to the future, GMG now has a solid foundation from which to continue to deliver high-quality independent journalism.”

The three-year strategy for the international operation was revealed in 2019 to be 2m financially-contributing subscribers to the platform, and financial sustainability in line with the long-term annual returns of the Scott Trust Endowment Fund, which owns GMG, of £25-30m.


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