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Inaugural Trading Update Signals Continued Digital Growth, Improving Full-Year Revenues and Financial Discipline

Monday, March 9, 2015

Guardian Media Group (GMG) today published an inaugural full-year trading update following a period of sharply increased digital revenues and higher overall sales amid a continuing financial transformation of the company behind and the Guardian and Observer newspapers.

Based on unaudited figures for the financial year ending March 29 2015, GMG expects to report a third consecutive year of revenue growth, with group revenues up by 3% to more than £215 million, driven primarily by growth in digital revenue exceeding 20% to over £80 million. Rising digital sales more than offset slowing print newspaper circulation and volatile advertising demand.

As a result, GMG expects group losses from continuing operations to narrow for the financial year. Underlying operating losses at Guardian News & Media – the group’s main business unit – are likely to be broadly flat year-on-year, reflecting continued investment in developing the business.

The Guardian’s current global audience stands at a record-breaking 121.7m monthly unique browsers*, over half of which comes from mobile readers. In the last quarter alone, saw a 60% year-on-year increase in its Australian audience, while US traffic – which has now overtaken the UK in terms of unique browsers – grew by 37% year-on-year.

Andrew Miller, GMG chief executive, said: “I’m pleased that the Guardian is delivering on its promises: to increase revenues, invest for the future and maintain a disciplined financial approach. 2014 was the year we secured the financial future of the Guardian. This year we must prioritise targeted investment and strategic delivery.”

GMG has built a cash and investment fund of more than £800 million, which includes the proceeds from the 2014 disposal of its 50.1% holding in Trader Media Group.

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, said: “Thanks to our balance sheet transformation, we can look forward to a period of targeted investment in the world-class journalism, digital excellence and increasingly international readership that is now the hallmark of the Guardian.”

Neil Berkett, chair of GMG, added: “The outstanding partnership between Andrew and Alan has positioned GMG to pursue continued revenue growth and significant investment. This promises to be another year of encouraging progress as our business and editorial transformation continues.”

In summer 2015, GMG will publish its full-year financial report and accounts, covering the financial performance of the past financial year in detail.

* ABC Jan ’15 Audit

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About The Scott Trust Ltd

The ultimate owner of the Guardian is The Scott Trust, which was originally created as a trust in 1936 to safeguard the title’s journalistic freedom. In 2008 it was replaced by a limited company with the same core purpose of the original trust: to secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity, while its subsidiary aims are to champion its principles and to promote freedom of the press in the UK and elsewhere. Other than to cover expense, The Scott Trust takes no dividend from the Group’s businesses, whose profits are instead reinvested to sustain journalism that is free from commercial or political interference.

About GMG

Guardian Media Group (GMG) is one of the UK’s leading media organisations. Its core business is Guardian News & Media (GNM), publisher of and the Guardian and Observer newspapers. GMG also manages investments such as Top Right Group whose purpose is to provide financial support for the development of GNM’s journalism. GMG delivers the financial security that allows The Scott Trust to achieve its central objective: the editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity. The business conduct of the Group is guided by The Scott Trust values.