Reports in British media suggest that long-running newspaper the Guardian is seriously considering killing off its print publication in a bid to stem huge losses.
Industry website More About Advertising reports:
Sources at the Guardian newspaper say that, for the first time, canning the print edition and switching to a completely digital product is now being seriously discussed at the top levels of Guardian News & Media. Long-serving Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is said to be increasingly isolated in his desire to retain a print version.
Apparently trustees of the Scott Trust, the ultimate owner of GNM, are increasingly alarmed at the company’s diminishing cash pile (chiefly garnered by the sale of a 50 per cent stake in Auto Trader to Apax some years ago).
The Telegraph — a rival to the Guardian — reports that investment in the online product (in particular a new US website) has helped create a 16 per cent increase in digital revenues to £45.7 million ($73.9 million). That isn’t enough to help with overall losses of £31.1 million ($50.2 million) by GNM, or the £129.1 million ($208.1 million) losses of GNM’s parent company, Guardian Media Group.
Katherine Rushton of the Telegraph reports that Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger had been hoping for more time to develop the US website as a digital-only publication and learn lessons from it.
The Guardian, then known as the Manchester Guardian, was founded in 1821 and moved to London in the 1960s. It had long been losing money but had been supported by other, profitable publications. If it does move online, it will be the first major British newspaper to go online only, and perhaps best known newspaper in the world to do so.
UPDATE: The Guardian has issued a statement that denies the report. From Richard Lindsay, Interim Head of PR & Internal Communications:
“There is no truth in reports that The Guardian intends to stop printing newspapers. Our newspapers generate three-quarters of our revenue and will remain the foundations of our organisation for many years to come. The management and executive of The Guardian and The Scott Trust Ltd have put in place a strategy that has enabled The Guardian to maintain its revenues and grow its audience to record levels. The Guardian is now the most read quality newspaper brand in Great Britain.”
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