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Guardian publishes 2020/21 financial results

Guardian Media Group (GMG) yesterday announced statutory results for the 12 months to 28 March 2021.

Guardian publishes 2020/21 financial results
Keith Underwood: “Having restructured the business, we are now in a position to invest in our journalism and the capabilities that will deepen reader relationships and drive reader revenues on a global basis.”

As reported by Guardian Media Group:

In a challenging year, GMG increased readership, increased revenue and reduced adjusted net operating cash outflow - its primary financial measure - to £15.6m (2020: £29m).

The results show:

  • Guardian journalism attracted record readership; over two billion unique browsers and almost 20 billion page views during the year
  • Group revenues increased by 0.9% to £225.5 million (2020: £223.5 million), with record growth in digital reader revenues (across subscriptions and contributions) which offset declines in advertising revenues and newsstand sales
  • Record numbers of digital subscriptions and recurring contributions, which grew by 33% to 961,000. This growth contributed to a 61% increase in digital reader revenue to £68.7 million (2020: £42.6m)
  • International revenues grew by 26%; now, more than 30% of total revenue - and over 50% of digital reader revenue - comes from outside the UK
  • Adjusted operating profit was £3.1m compared to an adjusted operating loss of £14.6m in the prior year
  • Adjusted net operating cash outflow was reduced to £15.6m (2020: £29.0m)
  • The total value of the Scott Trust endowment fund and other cash holdings increased to £1,148.5m (2020: £954 million).

At end of March 2021 the Guardian had a record number of supporters:

  • Total digital recurring support: 961,000 up 33% YoY (or 236,000), comprised of:
    • Digital subscriptions: 401,000 up 46% year on year
    • Recurring contributions: 560,000 up 24% year on year
  • Print subscriptions: 120,000, up 8% year on year
  • During this period: 585,000 single contributions globally, up 83% year on year

In response to sustained shifts in the market, the business announced a new strategic plan and completed a restructuring programme to ensure the business is positioned for future growth. The new strategic plan prioritises investment in high-quality journalism, digital products, data management and other capabilities that augment reader relationships and reader revenues.

Guardian Media Group, interim chief executive Keith Underwood said: “Outstanding journalism, commercial innovation and much hard work across the organisation have delivered a strong set of results in a challenging year. This performance is testament to the dedication and expertise of our staff, and our strong and trusted relationship with readers.

“Having restructured the business, we are now in a position to invest in our journalism and the capabilities that will deepen reader relationships and drive reader revenues on a global basis.”

Guardian Media Group chair Neil Berkett said: “Despite both structural challenges and the significant effects of the pandemic, the group’s long-term attention to growing sustainable digital reader revenues, reshaping our organisation and maintaining financial discipline mean we have delivered a positive set of results. The management team’s increased focus on investing in quality journalism and our digital capabilities mean that the group is well positioned to grow and deliver on the Guardian’s mission.”

See more information on GMG’s statutory results here.

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