This is a funny one: Guardian newspaper owner Guardian News & Media is trying hard to expand in the US but, in the process, is trying to sell ContentNext Media, publisher of the PaidContent and mocoNews tech sites, both of which are popular in the US.
The Guardian has been recruiting journalists in the US for an American version of its 20m plus visitors per month website, so doubtless the $15m or so it hopes to get for ContentNext will come in handy. But all the evidence to date points to tech websites being more profitable than general news offerings.
AOL recently forked out $25m for TechCrunch although it’s rather spoilt the party by falling out with most of the journalists involved including founder Mike Arrington.
There is at least a glimmer of a strategy here from CEO Andrew Miller (pictured), namely to stop trying to be a media conglomerate and concentrate on securing enough funding and, more elusive perhaps, more global reach for the core property Guardian news organisation.
But the only thing that keeps the Guardian going is the timely investment in Auto Trader it made over a decade ago. This was widely ridiculed at the time but has kept GMG’s head above water as Auto Trader has moved successfully from small classified print ads to online. If the Guardian had kept to its knitting then it wouldn’t be here now.