Guardian switches to “digital first” strategy

The Guardian News and Media says it will overhaul its operations to adopt a “digital first” strategy as it looks to cut costs in the wake of mounting losses.

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The company says the change in strategy is in response to changes affecting the entire media sector, which has seen a huge rise in digital audiences but declines in print circulation and advertising revenues.

Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, says there will also be investment in brand marketing as the company reinvests resources from print to digital.

It is hoped the new strategy will help digital revenues to double to nearly £100m by 2015.

Miller says the strategy, which aims to make £25m of savings over the next five years, was designed “to place the Guardian on a sustainable financial footing”. He warned that the Guardian Media Group could run out of cash in three to five years if business operations did not change.

Unaudited results show that revenue dropped to £198m for the year to 31 March, down from £221m the year before. The Guardian and Observer made a cash loss in the period of £33m, compared to the newspapers’ operating loss of £34.4m the previous year.

The Guardian’s circulation is down 12.5% year on year to 262,937, while the Observer is down 13.9% year on year to 293,054, according to their latest ABC reports.

The “major transformation programme” could result in dozens of job losses and the weekday print title may reduce the amount of pages in order to halt further declines.

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