The Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group, David Pemsel, has called for regulators to break up the biggest tech companies in an interview with Campaign.
He says that UK Government intervention was inevitable in order to put a stop to companies like Facebook and Google taking advertising revenue away from news media publishers.
He says that platforms that provide “anonymous reach” without a relationship to the readers do not have a place in their business strategy.
Instead, The Guardian wants to encourage greater contributions from its readers and forge a deeper relationship with them, and Pemsel claims they have the traffic to do so.
“Reach does breed complacency,” he continued. “You think it’s important just because you’ve got a big number, but you realise you’ve got no relationships” with your anonymous readership.
He also says that the big ad agency groups are as equally challenged as publishers and must also change their ways in order to survive.
Campaign reported that GMG’s turnover increased 1% to £217 million in the past year, with more than half coming from digital for the first time.
The Guardian’s revenues from readers (through contributions, subscriptions and print cover price sales) also outweighed advertising for the first time.
“You can imagine at some point there will be a brief, saying, ‘What are the various ways that print can add value to people’s lives?’ But then there’s this binary thing of, ‘When are you going to turn it off?’ – it’s much more nuanced than that. People in this digital age love the tangibility of print and we’ve got to respect that.”