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The Guardian rules out paywall implementation

By Hamish Mackay

February 2, 2012 | 2 min read

Andrew Miller, chief executive of The Guardian, has publicly ruled out a policy of 'closing in and having a paywall' in a speech to the Oxford Media Convention, choosing instead to maintain his faith in being able to monetise the large audiences generated by the Guardian’s global, open-access model.

Media Week quotes Miller as saying: "If we close off access we'll preclude future revenues as we go into convergence. I just don’t subscribe to the view that the way we'll survive is by closing in and having a paywall around us at this point in time."

The Guardian website recorded its highest traffic to-date in November, with monthly users rising to 63,589,633 and daily online users reaching 3,699,492 convincing Millerthat keeping the content open, and therefore social, was the right strategy.

Miller continued "I think you have to offer the right products across different platforms and engaged audiences. So with Facebook, we're getting engagement with 18- to 30-year-olds that we would never have got through a sister platform, and absolutely wouldn't have hoped to have got if we’d put a paywall around our business."

The media magazine reported that the significance of The Guardian's strategy was further underlined by GNM's commercial director, Adam Freeman, whom it quotes as saying: "The socialisation of media is at the heart of our future journalistically.

"We are now very clear that we have a digital first strategy. We are much more concerned about telling stories than we are about the platform.

"Once you decouple your consumer and your business model, and your mission from your platform, you’re much more relaxed about when you decide to turn things on or off… I am very positive about the future of The Guardian; I think it absolutely can survive, when it needs to, as digital-only."

"We already make tens of millions of pounds out of our digital revenue and we are expanding internationally, because that's the other digital opportunity we have, it’s not just to be in one domestic market."


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