Contributor Funding And The Turnaround of The Guardian
(6 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
The UK daily newspaper the Guardian undertook turnaround initiatives between January 2016 and April 2019 under the leadership of Katherine Viner, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief. Viner leveraged a new reader-funded contribution model to generate revenues, whereas newspapers such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal used paywalls and subscription-based models for revenue generation. Viner also undertook several cost-cutting initiatives, such as replacing the Berliner newspaper format with a tabloid format and outsourcing the printing of the Guardian. The impact of the contribution-based revenue model was substantial, leading the newspaper’s digital revenues to surpass revenues from advertising. The newspaper’s reach also increased substantially, with international subscribers, especially those in the United States and Australia, contributing more than Guardian readers in the United Kingdom. Although the Guardian reported its first profit in the past two decades in May 2019, several challenges remained for Viner, such as increasing the number of financial contributors to 2 million by 2022 and making the turnaround sustainable.
This case is intended for undergraduate or graduate-level courses in business strategy, strategic marketing, and business ethics. It deals with the different revenue models and turnaround initiatives a firm can rely on in the newspaper publishing industry. It also discusses the significance of data science and the charitable status of newspapers in the industry. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to do the following:
- Critically analyze different aspects of turnaround initiatives.
- Explain how companies can successfully use data analytics, especially descriptive and predictive analytics.
- Describe different revenue models in the newspaper publishing industry.
- Critically analyze the advantages and disadvantages to a firm intending to achieve a non-profit status in the newspaper business.
- Evaluate the business model of a firm from the perspective of strategic management.
Information, Media & Telecommunications
United Kingdom, Large, 2019
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