The Guardian Media Group, home of the UK’s The Guardian, this week revealed revenue for the year to March 2023 was £264.4M, a 3% increase year-over-year.
A rarity for our private database, we only track a single site for them – TheGuardian.com – which has its numerous international versions on the same domain.
As far as search traffic goes, Semrush currently estimates Google send the site more than 100 million clicks each month.
Things aren’t as positive as they might seem on the surface however, as the company recorded a £21M cash outflow, a figure which they attribute to investments in editorial teams and products. This is shown in their expenses, as wages increased from £131M to £152.6M.
The traffic stats they shared were really interesting: The Guardian’s 148 million average monthly visitors view around 1.4 billion pages. These visitors have converted into over one million paying supporters.
If we look at the site in Similarweb we can see that search traffic is a huge source of visitors for them:
While the Guardian made its name as a print newspaper, sales there are declining and revenue from digital products now accounts for 70% of their income.
If you spend some time clicking around their articles you’ll inevitably see calls to action where they ask you to support the work that they’re doing.
Unlike some other sites in the news space you’re given the option to decide if you want to support them for three, five or seven pounds per month. As far as I can tell, you get the exact same benefits no matter which one you pick.
The exception to that is their £10 per month option which unlocks ad-free browsing and access to their news app for mobile and tablet devices.
I’m personally a bit fond of them as they were the first newspaper to ever talk about me and the work that I’m doing online. I was involved in a few series for them over the years.
It makes me a little more invested to see how their journey is going.
The Guardian Are In a Unique Financial Situation That Definitely Helps
As part of their earnings release, Guardian Media Group reiterated that they are not at the whims of advertising revenue like similarly focused competitors.
They are owned by the Scott Trust investment fund which provides the newspaper with a cash injection of up to £30M a year. This allows them to sustain some financial losses.
It was interesting to see them specifically comment on Reach Plc in this context, who we revealed saw revenue and traffic decline recently.
In contrast, Reach – the parent company of the Mirror, Express and many local newspapers – is heavily reliant on income from online advertising. Its results showed a substantially gloomier outlook, with digital revenue falling by 19% year-on-year as advertisers cut back spending amid economic uncertainty.
As the Guardian continues to grow revenue outside of the UK in countries like Australia, it will be fascinating to watch whether their staff and product investments continue to pay off.
I’ll be here to let you know how things go.