The Guardian sees huge 61% increase in digital reader revenue

The Guardian Media Group (GMG), has announced its statutory results for the 12 month period ending March 28, 2021. This year saw a significant strain on its revenue model due to a historic push to make profits. Despite the turmoil, subscriptions and support continued to grow.

The Drum looks at how the Drum managed to increase its revenue. breaking even for the first time in mid-2019.

THe achieves

Record readership reached more than 2 Billion unique browsers in the year that ended March 28. This generated almost 20bn pageviews.

It stated that its primary financial indicator is its adjusted net operating cash outflow. This isn’t unusual for a business striving to reduce costs and hit profit. The outflow moved from £29m to £15.6m – effectively halved.

Group revenues increased by 0.9% to £225.5m. Record growth in digital reader revenues across subscriptions and contributions was offset by declines of advertising revenues and newsstand sales.

Digital subscriptions and recurring contributions grew by 33% to 961,000, increasing digital reader revenue to £68.7m by a huge 61%.

International revenues grew by 26%, accounting for more than 30% of total revenue – and more than half of digital reader revenue.

Adjusted operating profit was £3.1m compared to an adjusted operating loss of £14.6m in the prior year.


It attracted record numbers of supporters, but it is made up of many products. At the end of March 2021 its total digital recurring support was at 961,000 – up 33% year-on-year. It grew 236,000 in 2021.

This includes 401,000 digital subscriptions, which grew by 46%), recurring payments at 560,000 (up 24%) and finally print subscriptions at 120,000 (up 8%)

As one of the few main news providers with a donation button, in 2021 The Guardian saw 585,000 single contributions – up 83% year-on-year.

What The Guardian has to say

Guardian Media Group interim chief executive Keith Underwood said: “Outstanding journalism, commercial innovation and much hard work across the organization have delivered a strong set of results in a challenging year. This performance is a testament both to the dedication and expertise shown by our staff and to our trusting 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 added: “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 organization 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 means that the group is well positioned to grow and deliver on The Guardian’s mission.”

These are great results for the 200-year-old title marked the anniversary with an extensive marketing campaign.Rival Reach also announced today its results, showing promising green shoots in its advertising business.