The Strategist

Guardian Media Group warned of upcoming losses

02/02/2017 - 16:01

Guardian Media Group, which owns newspapers The Guardian and The Observer, warned that the group's losses could reach £ 90 million in the current fiscal year ending in April. This may result in further staff cuts in the UK and the USA, and, possibly, new format of the printed editions.

Yukiko Matsuoka
Yukiko Matsuoka
Management of British Guardian Media Group (GMG), publisher of The Guardian and The Observer and owner of a number of other media assets, presented these disappointing news to its team yesterday.

According to the group’s management, the Guardian has lost £ 60 million from the beginning of the current fiscal year (from April 2016). By the end of the financial year, i.e. by April 2017, the loss could rise to a further £ 30 million. The good news is that the sum is a little less than last year's annual loss of £ 95 million. However, if negative earnings persist and further, company Scott Trust, which owns the assets of GMG and provides financial assistance to its member newspapers, may not be able to support the publisher anymore.

At yesterday's meeting with the staff, GMG’s CEO David Pemsel warned the team of impending difficulties for the newspaper, even more serious than in past years. In the last year, given steadily growing losses, the GMG leadership launched a three-year program of reorganization providing for strict cost reduction. The management expects the program to produce tangible results within three years upon condition of cutting costs by 20%, which, in turn, will provide savings of up to £ 50 million a year. Thus, the group has already laid off 250 employees in the British edition and 40 people in The Guardian’s office in the US. This year, the downsizing can proceed and expanded to the editorial area. In addition, online readers of the newspaper are now encouraged to make a donation to help the publisher. This measure has not yet resulted in a significant change for the better, yet the newspaper refrains from introducing paid content, as did many other publications amid falling profits.

According to newspaper The Times, which refers to informed sources, The Guardian is now in talks about stopping printing presses for "Berliner" format (paper size 470 x 315 mm) and transfer printing on subcontracting. This may mean that the publication is considering shifting to tabloid format. The Guardian has allegedly hold negotiations with Murdoch’s News UK (publishes and prints The Times and The Sun with Sunday editions and supplements) and a number of other companies.


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