This is huge news for the UK online industry, as it also marks a move by Guardian News & Media into previously uncharted territory. It’s becoming apparent that McAlister is fronting a push by the publisher into the world of online development. The Guardian, understanding the limitations of dead-tree media, is diversifying beyond even its successful online news and comment portal model. The Guardian sees itself as a “platform” that will work alongside start-ups, offering support and sharing its resources. It’s unclear whether the new business will provide funding for projects outside of its immediate umbrella.
McAlister explains the move on his blog: –
This is a fantastic opportunity in many ways. Perhaps what’s most appealing to me is the direction the Guardian is going — they are totally focused on building a great online business, and it all starts with great journalism.
The Guardian, which has now ditched its long-standing “Guardian Unlimited” brand, also recently hired Mike Bracken as director of tech dev. who explains the Guardian’s new strategy: –
We want to allow people to connect, and will provide data that people they can reuse and be creative with a vehicle that will help engage smaller agencies and development team in other companies create applications.
Interesting news. The UK may have an impressive gaming and software industry, but beyond a few well-known brands (such as BEBO and the Guardian itself), it’s very much in the shadow of America with regard to the online arena. Will the Guardian’s investment lead to a greater number of successful tech start ups? Let’s hope so.