Earnings: Guardian Group Made $168 Million From Digital In 07/08

This story was written by Robert Andrews.
Guardian Media Group (GMG) grew digital revenues 36 percent to 85.1 million ($168 million) in 2007/08. The fastest growth was in digital display ads in the news publishing division, up 49 percent

-- Guardian News & Media: Losses widened to 24.9 million ($49 million) from 15.9 million ($31.4 million) after the group sank 19 million ($37.5 million) in to a Guardian.co.uk revamp. That's now complete and, though the site finally faces real competition for the UK top slot, it just regained that place in latest ABCe returns. GNM group said it scored its best revenue growth since 2001.

-- Trader Media Group: The biggest digital contributor to GMG, the car advertiser saw digital profit up 30 percent and TMG took the majority of its profit from digital for the second year running. But, whilst turnover was up 2.3 percent to 319.5 million ($631.5 million), operating profit fell 13 percent to 90.7 million ($179 million) on print-online integration and marketing costs.

-- Regional media: The local newspapers business may have seen online unique users rise 16.9 percent after newsroom integration restructure, but - as is true for most regional groups at the moment - it was "most seriously affected" by the "difficult" ad market and "the migration of revenues from print to online", especially those pesky classifieds, causing profit to fall 26 percent to 14.3 million ($28 million) on 120 million ($237 million) turnover.

But the sell-off of nearly half of TMG to Apax last year knocked GMG group income down from 716.1 million ($1.41 billion) last year to 502.1 million ($992.5 million). And, without the proceeds from that sale, pre-tax profit would have fallen from last year's 97.7 million ($193 million) - but the 334.8 million ($661.8 million) windfall in fact jumped pre-tax profit up to 306.4 million ($905.6 million).

GMG will now create a "long-term investment fund", not targeted at media, in 2008/09 and expects the UK economy to "have an impact on a number of the group's revenue streams".

By Robert Andrews