Guardian News & Media Launches Beta Membership Program

By: Press Release | Guardian News & Media

Guardian News & Media (GNM) is today inviting its readers to join its new beta membership scheme and to work together to bring the new proposition to life through a series of test events and activities as the programme is developed in the open.

Guardian Membership aims to bring readers closer to the Guardian’s award-winning journalism and encourage the open exchange of information, ideas and opinions. By bringing its journalism to life through live events, Membership represents the latest step in GNM’s transformation from a national daily print newspaper to a world-leading media brand.

The proposition will generate new revenues from readers in order to support the Guardian’s pioneering philosophy of open journalism. The programme centres on two pillars that bring Guardian journalism to life off the printed and digital page:

?        Guardian Live: a new programme of discussions, debates, interviews, keynote speeches and festivals that brings the Guardian to life at venues across the UK and around the world. The new events series takes the power of open journalism from print and digital and translates it into live experiences.

?       Guardian Space: an as-yet-unnamed, 30,000 square foot civic space for London, set to open in Autumn 2016. GNM is currently redeveloping the Grade II-listed Midland Goods Shed at London’s King’s Cross, which will reopen as a hub for events, activities and courses offered by an alliance of respected cultural and educational organisations including Birkbeck, Central St Martins, Indytute,  5×15 and others. Prior to the opening of the space in 2016, the Guardian will trial some pop-up venues across the UK, and further afield, featuring events, activities and courses from Guardian Live and selected partners.

Readers can choose between three different tiers of Membership – one free, two paid for – entitling them to a range of benefits:

?        Friends can sign up for free to join the scheme, will be able to book tickets to Guardian Live events and will be kept up to date with the latest news about the Guardian Membership community and upcoming events.

?        Partners will pay £15 per month and will also receive news and updates and a Guardian Membership pack with more information about the Membership community. They will receive discounts to Guardian Live events for them and a guest, as well as benefiting from priority booking for events.

?        Patrons, paying £60 a month, will also benefit from priority booking and discounts on Guardian Live events. In addition, they will receive a backstage pass to the Guardian including newsroom tours, print site visits and insight into the editorial process. They will help shape the Guardian Membership community through hosting their own Guardian Live events.

Guardian Membership is launching in beta, with a series of Guardian Live events scheduled throughout the autumn and winter aimed at fine-tuning the proposition, engaging further with readers and honing technology solutions and processes.  The programme will eventually develop into a global community, bringing readers around the world closer to the stories of the day, connecting them to the conversations that matter and introducing fellow members to each other.

Membership propositions will also be launched in the US and Australia in 2015 – in line with the Guardian’s digital editions and reader communities in both markets – and Guardian Live will host events in cities across the world.

Members signing up during the beta phase will become Founder Members with the chance to have a greater say in the development of the programme.

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media, said: “We’re very excited to be launching Guardian Membership which will help bring readers closer to our journalism. This is just the beginning of our Membership journey as we seek to develop the scheme in the open, in collaboration with the readers who share our values. There’s plenty more to come; from incredible seasons of thought-provoking live events, a greater emphasis on building our global community, through to the opening of our flagship Guardian Space building in the Autumn of 2016.”

David Pemsel, deputy chief executive, Guardian News & Media, said: “The Guardian’s strategy has long-focused on getting to know our readers better and offering them more ways to engage with, and pay for, our award-winning journalism. Membership will enable us to deliver new consumer revenue streams and to bring our journalism to life. It is about finding new, meaningful ways to monetise our huge audience of over 100 million global unique browsers, while protecting and affirming our commitment to open journalism without building walls around our content.”

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