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May 20 2010


#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 14 2010


February 01 2010


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 11 2010


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


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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