Guardian and Observer tot up losses of £31m

 

The Guardian and Observer newspapers slumped to an operating loss of £31m in the year to March but that was an improvement on a year ago when the papers lost £44m.

Turnover was steady at £196m, with digital sales rising 28 per cent to £56m, which offset falls in print.

Parent company Guardian Media Group swung back into the black with a pre-tax profit of £22.7m but paid just £100,000 corporation tax as it claimed back losses from previous years. GMG owns stakes in Auto Trader publisher Trader Media Group and events group Top Right Group, which helped it return to profit.

Chief executive Andrew Miller earned a £769,000 package, including £100,000 bonus, and editor Alan Rusbridger got £491,000.

Both men volunteered to give up 10 per cent of their base salary as they vowed to cut operating costs at the loss-making papers by £25m over five years.

But Stuart Taylor, the departing radio boss, earned £1.3m, including a £710,000 bonus for selling the business.

Critics argue that The Guardian and Observer are still living beyond their means and have not been ruthless enough on costs.

Mr Miller insisted “we are meeting or exceeding all our targets” on cost-cutting, with revenues at the newspaper division up 6 per cent since the start of the new financial year in April.

He said the papers were “reaping the benefits” of a decision to adopt a “digital-first” strategy two years ago.

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