Signs of improvement at the struggling Guardian Media Group (GMG) in London, with the impact of job and other cost cuts, plus a small rise in revenue helping to cut losses in the year to the end of April. In fact, management told staff at a briefing overnight Thursday that the paper didn’t exceed its budgets in 2016-17 for the first time in four years.
Guardian CEO David Pemsel said the company posted an operating loss of 37.8 million pounds — just inside its target for the year ended April 2017, an a very marked improvement on last year’s 57 million pound loss.
Revenues at GMG grew by 2% to 214 million pounds, despite a sharp fall in advertising revenues — the small rise was driven by driven in part by voluntary financial donations from 230,000 readers.
The Guardian used up 72 million pounds in cash from its cash reserves, down from 87 million pounds. A reduction in operating costs from 266 million pounds to 252 million pounds drove most of the improvement, as well as the rise in voluntary contributions. A 20p price increase for The Guardian’s print edition also help soften the impact of falling print ad revenues and weak online advertising markets.
GMG said 287 jobs were cut or not filled in the year to the end of April, while the paper has cut heavy into its US expansion with more than 40 jobs dropped. The Financial Times reported overnight (for a second time) that the paper is investigating moving back to Manchester (where it started, but moved to London in 1964) to cut costs.
The FT also said “Mr Pemsel warned of tough times ahead” and said “nothing was off the table” in terms of further cost reductions including more redundancies on top of the 300 job losses since last year.” GMG is due to make a more detailed financial statement and commentary in late May. — Glenn Dyerr