Guardian may start producing journalism only members can access, but chief exec Pemsel says: 'It's not a paywall'

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Guardian chief executive David Pemsel has said the site may start producing “some journalism which only our members can access”. But he insisted that will not be a paywall.

Guardian News and Media is currently seeking to make cuts of £54m a year (20 per cent) from its annual budget as part of a bid to break even. It revealed last month that it has lost more than £100m of its savings over the last year, leaving it with £735m in the bank.

The Guardian has a “core editorial staff” last year of 968 and it is expected that at least 100 of these may have to go.

The Guardian “Membership” scheme launched in September 2014 appears to have failed to bring in the revenues that were hoped for.

Pemsel told The Media Briefing website: “Our plan going forward is to reimagine what Guardian membership means, exploring how we can evolve our membership into simple, enhanced proposition which focuses relentlessly on serving the interests of our readers and building communities around them. 

"That might mean producing some journalism which only our members can access but no, it’s not a paywall. A paywall is a very different route, which of course we have considered, but putting one up now would diminish our reach and influence around the world, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do.  Our newly imagined membership offering is about offering readers a little bit more of what they like with the day’s core news staying absolutely free. It’s a new approach, but we think it’s an exciting opportunity to better serve both our audiences and our advertisers."

The Guardian offers three tiers of membership. For £5 a month, readers can access live broadcasts of Guardian events. For £15 a month, readers get a discount and priority booking on Guardian events. This “partner” level subscription has also been enhanced to include six tickets to Guardian events or four Guardian books per year. And for £60 a month "patrons" can "show deep support for keeping The Guardian open and independent" and "get invited to a small number of exclusive, behind-the-scenes functions"

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