From a regional print newspaper to a global multi-platform news organisation, the Guardian has undergone a significant transformation – mostly financed directly by its readers
Since the Guardian was launched in 1821 in Manchester, it has undergone a complete transformation.
Many still think of the publisher as a daily UK newspaper, but with recent digital developments, the Guardian has become a truly global multi-platform news organisation.
In addition to the print newspaper, which sells between 120,000 and 250,000 copies at the weekend with the Guardian Weekly edition, the Guardian website has approximately 10 million unique users a day.
Speaking at the Westminster eForum in December 2018, Matt Rogerson, head of public policy, Guardian Media Group, explained that the publisher started its transformation by transitioning from an advertising-reliant model to a more diversified revenue stream.
“The economics of the newspaper used to be pretty simple,” he said.
"We’ve always relied on advertising – the first edition of the Guardian had advertising on it for umbrellas and steam lathes. It was a form of targeted advertising because there was machinery from mill owners in Manchester advertised on the front page."
However, the advertising model for news organisations has been under threat for years. So in 2016, the Guardian decided to update its offering and launch a number of new subscription schemes.