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June 17 2011

06:08

Guardian's digital-first is in fact a "no-choice" strategy: out of cash in 3-5 years?

The Telegraph :: GNM's "Digital-first" is more precisely a strategy to cut costs. Guardian News and Media (GNM) is to axe dozens of staff after it revealed it lost £33m (€37.6m) in the last financial year. The company, which is owned by Guardian Media Group and backed by charitable foundation The Scott Trust, plans to make £25m (€28.5m) of savings over the next five years and to prioritise digital over print.

GMG declined to put a figure on the number of jobs set to go in the next wave of redundancies but it is thought it could be as high as 175. Chief executive Andrew Miller told staff in a series of briefings yesterday that the group could run out of cash in three to five years unless it underwent a "major transformation".

Continue to read www.telegraph.co.uk

October 04 2010

12:00

Stephen Glover: The Guardian can’t go on like this

Interesting take on the Guardian’s business model from Stephen Glover in the wake of Trader Media Group (TMG) writing off £463 million of the value of its magazine – TMG is part owned by Guardian Media Group.

Maybe GMG will be able to bankroll its national papers for ever. Personally, I wouldn’t count on it, especially if more of its investments go wrong. The trouble is that there seems to be no one in the Scott Trust or Guardian Media Group or on the papers themselves able or prepared to stand up and say what is blindingly obvious to everyone else in Fleet Street – that these newspapers are continuing to live dangerously beyond their means.

Full piece on Independent.co.uk at this link…Similar Posts:



May 20 2010

14:35

#wmf: Guardian will target international audiences as ‘untapped business’

Global audiences are an untapped business opportunity for the Guardian, Steve Folwell, Guardian Media Group director of strategy, told a Westminster Media Forum gathering on ‘The Future of News Media’ today.

According to the last Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic (ABCe), 65 per cent of traffic to Guardian.co.uk in March came from outside of the UK. Revenue generated by UK and non-UK audiences does not break down the same way, but the figure points to “significant opportunities from global audiences”, he said.

Editorially-speaking the Guardian launched an American spin-off site in 2007. But according to Editor & Publisher the venture was due to cut six staff last year, the site’s separate homepage was axed and its content was brought back under Guardian.co.uk’s US channel, suggesting that international business expansion might not be matched by editorial launches overseas.

There is a crossover between GMG’s approach editorially and its business model, however, said Folwell. The group is not interested in short-term profits, but in fundamentally changing its business model, he said. In particular the new opportunities that new devices, platforms and technology provide for distributing journalism and making money will be full explored – developments yet to come such as a Guardian presence on IPTV, for example, and the newly launched commercial side to its data and development service, Open Platform.

Technology has always been on the side of journalism. It has radically increased it’s reach, it’s immediacy (…) But all is not rosy in this garden and it’s a fair question to ask if this brave new age of journalism can be sustained economically?

Technology is certainly not on the side of those who want to preserve the status quo. You either hang on to the old bus models for as long as you can (…); or you can make a more fundamental change to your bus model. In taking the latter route it obviously helps hugely to have strong owners with strong balance sheets.

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March 31 2010

07:55

Beehive City: Alan Rusbridger on the Times, paywalls and industry in-fighting

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, adds some “industry context” to other paper’s reports of the Guardian and its business, in particular the departure of Carolyn McCall, CEO of Guardian Media Group (GMG), last week.

In a memo to staff reproduced by Beehive City, Rusbridger takes on the Times:

The Times’ print circulation is falling at exactly the same rate as the Guardian’s – but the Times’ web traffic is down seven per cent year on year while the Guardian’s rose by 22 per cent.

The Independent:

Having vociferously argued (in 2006) that newspapers were dangerously under-priced and that the future was about boosting cover price rather than hoping for increased advertising revenues, it is now talking about going free.

Paywalls:

What’s right for Murdoch (with Sky as a digital subscription model in the background and infinitely deep corporate cross-subsidies) may well not work for us at GNM, and vice versa. There may be different models within one newspaper. We’ll all make some mistakes along the way. We can all learn from each other.

And why the Guardian and GMG will stick to its plans and be swayed by “the pecking and sniping of outsiders”.

Of all media companies I truly believe we are better placed than the great majority to make the transformative change that will be demanded of us. The editorial future has the potential to be richer than anything any previous generation of journalists could have imagined. We can imagine it – and we are well on the way to achieving it.

Full memo at this link…

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February 01 2010

11:12

FT.com: Guardian considered six different pay models

This FT interview with Guardian Media Group chief executive Carolyn McCall reveals some  background on the company’s pay wall strategy. The company discussed six different models, including a pay wall, but McCall said there was no  evidence for the commercial success of pay walls:

“It is not really the way the web works. That is not to say there are not areas of specialist content that cannot be charged for,” she says.

Finally, this nugget:

Ms McCall dismisses the idea of any changes in the Guardian’s senior management – which is known to hold the firm view that freedom of news takes precedence over any business model – as “preposterous”.

Full story at this link…

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January 15 2010

14:53

Wired stands by story after Guardian denies iPhone app paywall plans

If, like me, you’re a regular reader of The Guardian’s media coverage, or you listen to their Media Talk podcast, you might have been surprised to have read the following in the February 2010 UK edition of Wired:

The Guardian… hopes users of it’s £2.39 (iPhone) app will pay extra for privileged access to in-demand columnists. (p.89)

This seems to fly in the face of what I know about The Guardian’s digital strategy. The Guardian have always seemed to be staunch opponents of paywalls, and Emily Bell, Director of Digital Content at Guardian News & Media, always seems to me to take a particularly strong line that she doesn’t want to charge for online content. I asked her to comment on Wired’s claim. “I’m not sure where the ‘columnists’ assumption comes from, not us, that’s for sure. Bit off beam” she told me on Twitter (incidentally the ‘columnists’ in question include David Rowan, Wired’s Editor, who co-wrote the piece).

So, order is restored to my universe: The Guardian is still the bastion of free online content, creatively looking for another way to make digital pay. But wait, what’s this? Wired have weighed back in, with this tweet:

@jonhickman @emilybell Came from a senior Guardian exec who demonstrated the app in person, actually

So, are The Guardian really thinking about paywalls? Was this loose talk? Has there been a misunderstanding? Is someone fibbing?

I don’t know, but I think it matters. The Guardian’s online brand seems to be about free: free data, free access, free comment. If there’s a grain of truth in Wired’s claim, what does it tell us about the future of online access?

January 11 2010

09:39

Timesonline.co.uk: Guardian and Apax pledge fresh funds for Emap

Emap’s owners – the Guardian Media Group (GMG) and Apax – have pledged to pump more money into the publisher, the Sunday Times reports:

The pair are gearing up to support an acquisition drive with fresh funds after rejecting proposals to relax covenants on Emap’s £700m of debt because it would be too expensive.

Emap, which was acquired for £1 billion in 2007, warned in its last set of accounts of “significant doubt” that it could carry on as a going concern if economic conditions deteriorate or renegotiations with lenders failed.

Full post at this link…

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December 17 2009

09:17

How-Do: Could GMG sell Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror?

How-Do.co.uk exclusively reported this morning that Guardian Media Group (GMG)  is “believed to be in talks” to sell the Manchester Evening News to Trinity Mirror.

How-Do, the north-west based media site, has few details to date but promises more soon. It had not managed to obtain comment from either group. It reported:

It is being suggested that GMG Regional Media is to be sold off in a bid to save jobs and continue with the Scott Trust’s overarching objective of protecting the interests of national paper the Guardian.

A figure of £40m has been mooted for the sale, but, again, at the time of writing this could not be confirmed.

Full story at this link…

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