Thinking ahead

Nick Hugh


We are fortunate to work for a company that since our founding has played a pivotal role in society.

This is a publication that has positively impacted past generations and will continue to affect society for years to come.

We are privileged to work for such a strong brand and we must always be proud of that.

Our journalists create stories today that will live long in the memory of our audience. But the story of how we transform our business will also deserve retelling.

For we stand at an important juncture. In times of disruption, companies can continue with the business model that has served them well in the past, or they can embrace the change and seek to find new opportunities.

It is incumbent on us to rise to the challenges we face and scale greater heights than we ever have done in the past.

Our business will look very different in the future, but always at the heart of it will sit quality journalism.

It is our raison d’etre and the single biggest strength that we have. And it is through that journalism that we give our customers the insights and perspectives that they always have, and will always, seek.

But it is time to evolve our business. We led the way in the 19th – 20th centuries, where circulation was the key determinant of success.

We continue to operate at the forefront of the industry, but we must move at faster speed and free ourselves from the shackles of yesteryear. We must accept that battles fought in the past are different to the battles of tomorrow and we must revisit every single one of our assumptions.

We have set a very clear vision to ensure that we win the fight in the 21st century:



At the heart of the vision sits the need to build communities around the audience that consumes our journalism.

We want to lead the way in building a much closer, more personal relationship with our customers.

Achieving this bold goal will require investment. Investment in journalism and investment in technology.

To that end we will create and recruit for 39 new editorial posts in 2018. We will also invest in developing the right forums and experiences to connect our audience to our journalists and to each other.

Our strategy, with quality journalism at the heart, is registrations-first. We must build greater and deeper connections with our customers at scale.

The insights and data we gather on our customers will help us continue to refine and develop the journalism that we offer them.

At the same time the services we provide them under the trusted brand of The Telegraph will become much more tailored and sophisticated.

Our commercial businesses will evolve to become more data-led, with customer relationship management at the heart of everything we do. We will provide improved, automated and personalised customer journeys as we broaden the scope of our interactions and transactions with our customer base. We will continue to develop our offerings in subscriptions, advertising and events, but we will move faster to execute a key pillar of our revenue strategy in travel and financial solutions.

We will manage our cost base in traditional areas, ensuring we are sensibly allocating our resources to drive growth in our growth businesses.

We have a wonderful team of people at The Telegraph – we have proven our ability to innovate time and time again, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to developing our teams to ensure they deliver the world-class standards that are expected of us. We will also modernise our ways of working as well as significantly improve our diversity within the workplace.

It is essential that our workforce is more representative of the base of customers whom we serve and we will actively put in measures to ensure that we improve the mix of our workforce.

It is the right thing to do for our business and for society as a whole.

At a time of such profound change, I want us to be clear about what we are and where we are going. Clear to our readers and customers; clear to our partners and clients; and clear to our staff and contributors. Hence this document, the first time The Telegraph has explicitly laid down a vision for the future of this company.

It is bold. It is exciting. It requires us to change. But its success will enrich and improve our journalism, grow our audience and secure our future for years to come.

The Telegraph 2018: Was, Is & Will be

Chris Evans


For more than 160 years The Telegraph has been committed to delivering the very best journalism to the widest possible audience.

Established in 1855, our mission was to be the ‘largest and best’ newspaper in the world ‘guided by a high tone of independent action’.

Our motto ‘Was, is and will be’ remains as true today as it did when it first appeared in our pages in 1858.

And we are deeply proud of what we have accomplished, proud of what we are and we are ambitious about what we can become. But our long history alone does not guarantee our status as a force for good in British society.

It is our hard-won reputation – with its well-established watchwords of quality, authority and credibility – that help us to stand apart. Since our founding, we have built a large and loyal audience for whom The Telegraph acts as an anchor in their daily lives.

To be part of The Telegraph family is to be informed; it is to be curious; it is to enjoy life. At home, at work, on the move – The Telegraph is not only what our audience needs it to be, but where they need it, too.

Our mission to inform means we have won countless awards for our journalism. Our scoops – the outbreak of the Second World War, MPs’ expenses, Football For Sale – live long in the memory. Our commitment to the wider world sees Telegraph foreign correspondents bear witness to moments of history across the globe.

Our photographs paint vivid pictures with enduring power; our sports writers chronicle glorious triumphs and ignominious disgrace in equal measure. Our expert analysis and commentary sound clearly through the constant white noise of muddled opinion and confected fury. Our critics celebrate and scorn, while our columnists cheer, condemn and provoke.

And all the while our cartoons and sketches induce in many their first riotous laugh of the day.

For 149 years – through world wars and Cold War, revolutions and abdication – The Telegraph, like all other publications, was a simple matter of paper and ink. But in 1994, we became the first British newspaper to embrace digital, with its own website. No one at the time could have predicted how much our industry would change as a result of this development. No one could have foreseen the dual challenges and opportunities it would present.

But challenge us it has. The time for change is upon us. And what The Telegraph will be in the future depends on our willingness and capacity to embrace this transformation.

That challenge can be our opportunity. We may pride ourselves on our dependability as a daily fixture in our readers’ lives but that does not mean we cannot surprise or delight.

Our glorious heritage may be built on our past success but that does not mean that we must be hidebound or predictable.

Indeed, our past success gives us permission to innovate. And innovate we must, for it is in the new that The Telegraph can find the keys to securing our future.


In an era of fake news, words chosen well are the most powerful weapons we have.

Quality journalism – and the trust that comes with it – is the beating heart of our enterprise, the sun around which all our other activities revolve.

Every day the journalism we create is setting the news agenda, sparking debate, provoking comment, outrage, satisfaction and amusement. Across all our products and across all platforms The Telegraph plays a vital role in society.

It is incumbent on us to ensure that we continue to thrive, both for our current audience and for generations to come. The Telegraph is for everyone but The Telegraph has certain values. We are right of centre, in support of free markets and deregulation.

We’re in favour of enterprise. The Telegraph supports fair-play, the rule of law and equality of opportunity. But it’s also fun. People enjoy The Telegraph.

Of course, our journalistic values mean nothing without the right culture among staff. To be successful we need an environment that fosters innovation and collaboration. Our company values are that we are fearless – fiercely ambitious, we set the agenda and lead by example.

We work together, across all departments, are generous with our support and trust, open and unselfish with our knowledge.

We are open-minded, creative and pioneering, and we are not afraid to fail in pursuit of innovation. We develop our thinking through meaningful, stimulating and honest debate. We embrace diverse perspectives, backgrounds and viewpoints.

And we are committed to experimentation and learning to ensure all our employees are informed, ready to take full ownership of our work and results. With the right values and culture, our business can flourish.

Over the past two years we have achieved a huge amount. We have rebuilt and designed our websites to be fully responsive. We have launched The Telegraph App, we have taken our journalism to an array of new platforms like Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Google Newsstand, Amazon Echo and Snapchat. We have redefined our subscription proposition as Telegraph Premium and have more subscribers than at any time in The Telegraph’s history.

We have products that appeal to all ages from the two million 13-17 year olds who read our journalism on Snapchat to our loyal print subscribers. We have a huge audience base – 25 million unique users in the UK, 70 million globally.

But we are operating in an ever-changing world. And we have the opportunity to do more.


Our newspaper is our flagship product. Our website, mobile and edition apps are all crucial parts of our offering, but the printed page remains central to our mission.

We are committed to publishing a newspaper in perpetuity. As in times past, it will evolve and change as we continue to seek to improve. But today, it is our digital products that offer us the greatest scope to grow and engage our audience.

At present, a relatively small proportion of our audience is in a logged-in or identifiable state when they encounter our journalism.

Our vision is to pioneer new ways to serve at least 10 million registered customers, bringing them closer to us and to each other. A registered reader – as opposed to an anonymous one – is far more valuable to the business than the vast majority of our audience as it stands now.

The ambition lies not just in the number but in the idea of encouraging registration.

Registration challenges us to ask what would induce people to look for our digital journalism. And registration challenges us to ask what would induce people to dwell longer on it once they’ve found it. It is a strategy that works for the journalism and works for the business.

Initially there will be a special focus allied to investment in the following editorial areas – Politics, Sport, Luxury and Lifestyle, Business of Technology, Money and Travel.

We believe all parts of the editorial spectrum can contribute to our new strategy but have identified these six specialisms as providing us with immediate, tangible opportunities.

Our new strategy will require us to change how we measure success. It will require us to organise our newsroom so that developers, data scientists, analysts and engineers sit alongside journalists.

It will require us to further our use of data, machine learning and other new technologies. And it will require us to train our staff to take advantage of all of these changes and to equip them for the challenges ahead.

Trust, quality and reputation count, more so today than ever before. Reputations built over 162 years can be lost in 162 seconds if we don’t adhere to principles of quality.

In addition to our journalism, the network of Telegraph experiences and products must have value to our customers that no one else can provide. Our quality journalism must bring an audience to The Telegraph, but the community they join and the experience they have when they get here must make them want to stay.

Newsletters, events, rarified experiences, notifications and messaging groups – all of these are the kind of tools we can use to offer our audience exclusive value for their Telegraph registration.

Every day our audience interacts with us in different ways. And by developing those interactions in a more sophisticated way we can capture a fully engaged readership. The Telegraph will be where people go to find like-minded people. Where they go to learn things, to buy things, for enjoyment and new experiences. Where they get to meet new faces, old friends, people from whom they can seek advice or comfort.

We need to encourage their ideas, their opinions, talk to them directly, so that we become their number one destination.

The better we know our audience – the more intimacy there is between The Telegraph and its readers on an individual basis – the better we can serve them. And the healthier our business can be.

Our intention is not just to be big, but to be the best. Our opportunity to win comes not from an attempt to pursue scale at the cost of quality, but instead by growing highly engaged, known readers, and by being confident in our ability to offer differentiated experiences and the very best reporting, comment, analysis and ideas.

By ensuring we are customer-focused, and have a detailed understanding of their needs, then our ability to develop world-class business offerings that complement and support our journalism will grow exponentially.

We have to create the right experiences, products and incentives that make logging-in desirable, and offer our Telegraph community a network of experiences and products that no one else can provide.

In the past year we have made real progress in proving that we can do this. Readers trust our independent journalism and have expressed a desire for us to help them in critical choices, be it about their finances or valuable leisure time.

We take this seriously and are determined that the services we offer will build, not diminish, the brand and reputation of The Telegraph.

Advertising also remains crucial to our strategy. Whilst we recognise the market changes, it will continue to contribute substantially to our business.

However, we will hone our strategy in line with the pursuit of quality journalism, enhance our digital creativity and provide thought-leadership, partnerships and unrivalled data insight across the digital landscape.

Our story is one of renewed focus, of quality, and of always putting our readers at the heart of everything we do.

This will be a multi-year transformational effort, and will require much work. But The Telegraph comes from a position of great tradition and strength. The need for the quality, trusted journalism upon which we have built our reputation has never been greater.

We intend to serve this need, wherever our audience wants it, and to build a business that is sustainable for 163 years to come.

The Telegraph is committed to innovation and the use of new technology – such as augmented reality – to improve our journalism and seek new, engaged audiences.