Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, has hit out against the introduction of paywalls, saying that Guardian News & Media, which earned £25m from digital advertising in 2009, would focus on building an audience for its content and advertisers.
Rusbridger used the occasion of the Hugh Cudlipp lecture to argue why the paywall model, advanced so assiduously by Rupert Murdoch, was not right for The Guardian.
He said it was too soon to dismiss the “potential growth of digital” on the basis of the worst economic crisis since 1929, and revealed that Guardian News & Media had earned £25m in digital revenues from its online display, Guardian Jobs online, reader offers and its Soulmates dating site activity in 2009.
He admitted this was not enough to sustain the paper in print, witnessed by the fact that The Guardian is cutting 100 jobs. However, at the same time, he said putting up a paywall would choke off that £25m of online ad revenue.