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Guardian announces strong rise in reader support

The Guardian yesterday announced a strong rise in reader support. In March 2020 the Guardian had 821,000 recurring monthly supporters – a 23% increase over the past 12 months.

Guardian announces strong rise in reader support
Katharine Viner: “Readership and financial support from readers have grown at record rates during the past two months of the coronavirus.”

According to the Guardian, the monthly figure is comprised as follows:

  • 446,000 recurring contributors, patrons and members, a 20% increase vs March 2019 (371,000).
  • Digital subscriptions across the Guardian’s premium apps and tablet editions stand at 265,000, a 39% increase vs March 2019 (191,000).
  • Total print subscriptions to the Guardian, the Observer and Guardian Weekly are at a record high of 111,000, a 3% increase vs March 2019 (107,000).

Digital subscriptions have grown particularly quickly, driven by the October 2019 launch of the Guardian’s paid Daily app as well as an increase in subscriptions to the Guardian’s existing premium Live app.

With record traffic so far in April 2020, the Guardian says it has added an additional 50,000 recurring supporters, with all categories of Guardian support growing 2-3 times faster than normal.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2020 the Guardian received a further 342,000 one-off contributions from readers around the world (2019: 341,000) - meaning that over the past 12 months 1.16 million people have supported the Guardian in some way, in addition to the UK readers who support by buying the Guardian and Observer regularly.

A Reuters Institute study published this week found that the Guardian’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is considered the best of all British newspapers, with twice as many people saying the Guardian is doing a “good job” covering the coronavirus pandemic than any other news publisher.

Despite the significant challenges presented by coronavirus The Guardian also confirms that it achieved its goal of financial sustainability for a second consecutive year in 2019/20, with its cash requirements remaining within the expected long-term annual returns of the Scott Trust Endowment Fund of £25-30m.

The Guardian will publish full 2019/20 financial results in July 2020, as normal.

Guardian News & Media editor-in-chief Katharine Viner said: “Over the last 12 months the Guardian has provided independent, fact-based journalism to unprecedented numbers of readers. Readership and financial support from readers have grown at record rates during the past two months of the coronavirus.

“While the future is tough for news organisations, we are very grateful to Guardian readers around the world, who are helping us to ensure that high-quality news is accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford it.”

Guardian Media Group chief executive Annette Thomas said: “The appetite for trusted, authoritative news and information has never been larger, but news media organisations face huge challenges: widespread disruption in the advertising sector, structural decline in print sales and rapidly changing habits of news consumption. Like others, the Guardian will face significant financial challenges over the next 12 months as a result of coronavirus.

“With a highly trusted brand and clear values, a majority-digital business and a rapidly growing base of global supporters willing to pay for quality journalism, The Guardian is well positioned to adapt to serve readers and meet the long-term challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”