The annual accounts published by parent firm Guardian Media Group show that overall revenue for GNM, home to the Guardian and Observer newspapers as well as GuardianOnline, increased from £194.4m last year to £196.3m.
Within these figures, a 28.9% growth in digital and new product revenues to £55.9m “more than offset” declining revenue from its printed products, the company said.
At group level, GMG’s pre-tax profits reflected the digital growth with an increase to £22.7m (2012: £19.8m loss) on revenue from continuing business of £206.8m (2012: 206.3m). EBITA also showed improvement growing from £45.9m last year, to £54.5m. The figures include exceptional restructuring costs of £7.7m (2012: £10.5m).
In 2011, GMG announced a five-year “transformation programme”, focusing on a ‘digital-first’ strategy, that aimed to create at least £25m in savings by 2016.
Commenting on the results, GMG chair Dame Amelia Fawcett said the loss-reduction programme remained on track. She added: “At group level, we were pleased to convert last year’s loss into a profit before tax, while EBITA also improved. This is due in no small part to the success of our transformation plan, as we continue to map our way towards the digital future.”
“The programme combines investment in the digital future with a targeted reduction in the cost base. This has meant some very difficult decisions, particularly on staffing levels. It is vital however, to press ahead with these measures if we are to complete the transformation of the business and so secure the future for the company, for the talented people who work here and for the principles on which the organisation stands.”
GMG chief executive Andrew Miller said that the 2012/2013 performance was a clear reflection of the digital-first strategy.
He added: “A sharp increase in the contribution of our digital operations to revenue was a striking feature, enabling a modest increase in overall group revenues. Having committed to digital earlier than our peers, we are now reaping the benefits.
“The reduction in losses would have been even greater, had we not chosen to invest a significant proportion of the efficiency savings in new developments.
“Investing in the future is a key part of our strategy for this news organisation – every bit as important as the target of taking £25m out of the cost base by the end of 2015/16. Thus far, we are meeting or exceeding all our targets in this respect.”