The Independent today reports record revenue with double-digit growth for the past financial year ending September 2022, making it the sixth consecutive year of profitable growth since going fully digital.
The results reflect the impact of the business’s strategic focus on investing in the areas of international expansion, eCommerce and TV, both of which delivered circa 50% increase in revenue for the year. This strategy of diversifying the revenue streams beyond advertising has seen a focus on paid content, which includes direct reader revenue, and now represents 32% of revenue.
The financial results come as The Independent also announces that it has now hit the significant milestone of 5 million registered readers.
Operational highlights included:
Last year, The Independent committed to diversifying its revenue away from advertising and neared its goal to grow non-advertising sources to more than half of total.
Investment in IndependentTV continued to pay dividends as the brand launched programming across six global Connected TV platforms. The release of its first feature-length documentary, The Body in the Woods, with screenings in London and Kyiv, drew attention and award nominations as a result. Christian Broughton, IDNML’s Managing Director, who has driven growth in IndependentTV and eCommerce, has been appointed to the Board.
IndyBest, the eCommerce proposition which was born in print 25 years ago and now flourishes online, outperformed expectations, with revenue growth over the year of 44%.
This growth and investment have resulted in another strong year of reader engagement, in which The Independent was regularly cited as the biggest quality news brand in Britain, exceeding the readership of The Times, Telegraph and Guardian, and the second most trusted newspaper behind the Financial Times.²
37% of total revenue in FY2021/22 came from overseas markets, as did more than 52% of monthly visitors, making The Independent truly global as it continued to diversify its business across Spanish-speaking, Asian and American markets.
Significant investment was made in advance of the 2016 presidential election, with the Independent leading the competition in embracing the rise of social media through strategic partnerships with Facebook and news aggregator partners Yahoo and MSN, who remain critical in 2023 in maximising reach.
Since it launched a dedicated US edition in 2020 as part of a global, round-the-clock news offering, the business has continued to invest in the region, with a 50% increase in editorial staff to 45 made in FY21/22. Bureau cover New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, with additional correspondents across the country.
With over 20m unique visitors in the US, The Independent ranks within the top 10 digital news brands. Last month, it overtook the LA Times for the second time in three months, to be the fastest growing US news brand (both YoY and MoM), according to the latest ComScore figures.
CEO Zach Leonard will be increasing his attention on the US investment and market growth over the coming months.
John Paton, Chairman of Independent Digital News Media, said: “Investing in the US, data and eCommerce are strategic imperatives for us. We’re confident that today’s results demonstrate that our strategy is the right one in helping keep our business strong and funding more innovative, award-winning journalism.”
Zach Leonard, Chief Executive of Independent Digital News Media said: “I’m proud of our business achievement over the last year, and our ongoing investment to build The Independent into the UK’s biggest quality digital news brand, a Top-10 title in the US, and a continued industry leader in data with 5m registered users. I look forward to continued revenue growth and diversity though eCommerce, TV and Reader Revenues, and leading our US investments as we deliver Independent journalism across the world’s most commercially competitive media market.”
1 Ipsos IRIS, April 2023, whilst The Independent was second to Guardian (21.5m) the title had the largest month-on-month growth amongst quality news brands.