Guardian US chief executive, Eamonn Stores has outlined the business plan for the American news outlet, revealing the ambition to increase revenue by 100 per cent over the next year, having already claimed to have lifted earnings by 300 per cent.
Speaking at SXSW on a panel alongside Meredith Kopit Levien, executive Vice President of advertising for the New York Times, Stores opened up about the ambitions of the US online presence of the Guardian, stating that "what applies to the Guardian applies to the market".
He claimed he spent more time focusing on what his own outlet did over other media outlets and revealed that he would tell the company's trust to focus more on its readership instead, highlighting a lack of faith in the long-term of the traditional newspaper model.
"If the legacy media owners don't start focusing on their audience rather than celebrity then they will continue to bludgeon their way down those routes that they are going," he stated. "If they can't start to cross over and break down silos between sales operations, editorially and others to get a line in the business where they are going then they will continue to do what they are doing. As long as they continue to do that we have a window of opportunity. The New York Times is one of the few companies we do look at as a traditional legacy player but we certainly don't look much at the others because we have to focus on what we do and not there."
Stores continued to state that the long-term challenge for the company was the 'legacy brand' in the UK.
"We have a dying print business and that has a realistic amount of time left. So what we do as the Guardian US isn't just important in succeeding in the US. We could be profitable in the US now if we wanted to. What we do in the US is that we have to take the successes that we have and the investment that we create and we have to be allowed to behave like a pure-play and like a start-up that we can. We have to take those learnings back to the UK to help evolve that model where we are a legacy played like those I criticise here."
Later he revealed more of his targets for the years ahead, stating that the overall objective was to be 'the leading quality news site' in the world.
"The thing we know is the US can't just be profitable. I said it could be profitable this year, it could, but it can't be profitable because it has to fill a significant gap as we see print decline in the UK. There's plenty of opportunity for that in the US."
He explained that the business would need to double in size in the US to meet its aspirations over the next three years with around 60 million visits as it aims to become a dominant player in the market.
"It looks very realistic. We're certainly tracking ahead of it at the moment. If we deliver twice the traffic we need to generate about three times the revenue. Our revenue is up 300 per cent this year, and it needs to be up 100 per cent over the next year. That's entirely achievable because the numbers aren't New York Times scale. So if we double our traffic and triple our revenue in the next three years we will be comfortably profitably by Q2 of year three."
With most of the cost coming from the editorial team, Stores said that he expected to see that grow from 95 now to 110 in the next month and 180 by the end of the year before he admitted that he expected a plateau to emerge.