The Guardian Media Group (GMG) has revealed it will focus on a ‘digital first’ strategy after the newspaper group reported £33 million losses in cash last year.
This strategy includes launching an online-only edition of the Guardian in the US later this year, and also gives the IT department an opportunity to be more creative.
Andrew Miller, chief executive of the Guardian Media Group, said that the company needed to undergo a “major transformation” because “doing nothing was not an option”.
He also warned staff that the company could run out of cash in three to five years if the business operations did not change.
The group’s digital revenues are expected to be £47 million in the current financial year. Miller hopes that the digital first strategy would help increase this to £91 million by 2016, as well as help save the company £25 million over the next five years.
GMG’s unaudited results for the year to 31 March 2011 showed that the group had made a cash loss of £33 million, similar to last year’s operating loss of £34.4 million. The revenues at the group had also fallen from £221 million last year to £198 million in 2011.
Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, suggested that the group could spend 80 percent of its focus and attention on digital.
Rusbridger said: "Every newspaper is on a journey into some kind of digital future. That doesn't mean getting out of print, but it does require a greater focus of attention, imagination and resource on the various forms that digital future is likely to take."
The Guardian’s weekday print format is also expected to be resigned to change its focus from breaking news to more analysis, resembling “Newsnight not News at Ten”.
Meanwhile, at the first CIO Summit last year, Derek Gannon, COO at GMG, said that the IT department needed to reinvent itself as a creative function that plays a core role in the business. With the focus on a digital first strategy, GMG's IT department may now have more of an opportunity to do this.
“Every part of the business will need technology. You [as a CIO] will have to stop thinking about technology as the day job. You have to think of it as a function – that it is there as a creative department, there to create ideas, products and services for our consumers,” he said at the time.
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