With the purchase of the newspaper from administrative compulsory liquidation, il manifesto comes out from the limbo into which it crashed four years ago and can finally look to the future free from financial debts of the past.
For the collective and for readers, this three-and-a-half-year period was very difficult but exciting.
We might seem like a historical journal, with 45 uninterrupted years on newsstands, but in fact from 2013 to the present, we have been more like a young start-up than an established business. With this very important turning point in the newspaper’s history, it can be said that the new manifesto was born.
From the economic point of view, the new cooperative has learned the hard lesson of liquidation and has managed not only to continue publication but also rehabilitated the accounts and revived — with good judgement — the newspaper, supplements and digital editions.
The last financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015, and approved unanimously a few days ago by the partners, saw a net profit after tax of €515,332 (taxes in 2015 amounted to €115,784).
Revenues have exceeded €7 million (€7,027,216, of which €1,982,005 was a government grant for editorial businesses and costs incurred and documented in 2014). The value of the characteristic production is €4,962,305.
Total advertising revenues (for the paper business only, since we do not allow any digital advertisers in the Italian edition) amounted to €505,786, about 10 percent of the total.
The lion’s share, then, are the revenues from readers and subscribers. From them — from you readers — we receive 90 percent of our income: €4,155,930. Not many newspapers depend so much from sales and subscriptions. More specifically, in 2015 digital subscriptions have brought in €270,000 and donations over €83,000. The rest was generated by the good old paper.
Beyond the most recent numbers, we do not forget where and how we started off at the beginning of 2013. Very few bet on the viability of this stubborn “communist newspaper.”
We have experienced moments of panic, hung tough, and we made it here. We were willing to plan for the future, free from the confidentiality restrictions of tough legal and financial negotiations, which led us to spend between lease payments and the actual purchase of the newspaper €1.75 million in three years.
If we had been able to invest more in the newspaper, perhaps we could improve the product, the partnerships, the paper and digital editions. But this was, and we consider it, a success with few precedents in the Italian publishing industry and beyond.
We made it mainly thanks to our readers and the determination of a political and media collective, which, although weakened, resisted when it was re-launched and whenever it was needed.
We missed you, dear readers. We missed sharing everything with you in real time. But we were forced to privacy during these long negotiations. We must be aware that this July is not an endpoint, but a point of departure.
The clouds above the publishing business have never been so black. Not to mention those on the political and social left. So, the time to celebrate is short. We will celebrate, of course, but the real party is the work for the newspaper that we must do together.
Although the purchase of the newspaper will remain engraved in the history of this journal, because it is a great achievement and an unprecedented collective effort, our pages are paper airplanes in the throes of the crisis wind.
You readers are our only wings.
And we have strengthened them, betting on new initiatives looking for different and wider audiences: the monthly in movimento, for example, or the digital edition in English, il manifesto global, trying to bring our/your point of view to the vast Anglo-Saxon world, special inserts like the 128-page insert for our 45 year anniversary, “Masters of space,” as well as smaller attempts, inserted into the pages of the newspaper. The new Alias, completely redesigned, which is something that had not happened for years.
Many of these initiatives were accomplished with the water just below our nose.
In September, the newspaper will come out completely refurbished, and also Alias Sunday, after a pause in August, will resume with a new format and more pages. There is a strategy and a reserve of expertise in what we do.
Can a newspaper exist without (and against) masters? Here it is. Is it enough? Never.
Today, along with our terrific partners, we publish a daily, two bi-weeklies, two monthlies, a digital edition in Italian, a digital edition in English, plus a few books, ebooks and DVDs each year.
Despite our work and your passion, newsstand sales are not satisfactory: In 2015, we sold an average of 9,600 copies per day, plus 800 mail subscriptions and 1,700 digital subscriptions, with a real diffusion (data is not inflated) of 13,000 copies a day.
We also have more than 139,000 people registered on the site who can read up to eight articles per month free. Over 103,000 followers on Twitter and 244,000 fans on Facebook.
The gap between digital and paper is an ocean for to all publishers to cross (better said: for anyone who produces “content,” including music, books, news, analysis, etc.). We did not pay one euro for virtual fans, nor do we have a dedicated company manager. Like almost everything in these parts, the “community” is the result of a collective work, sometimes done well, sometimes not. But it is an authentic work and never fake.
This newspaper is a strong community, including those who occasionally find us on the web and those who have supported us for years. We have very solid roots, an invaluable asset, which we are not always able to show clearly to advertisers and buyers on newsstands.
On Friday, provocatively with our double cover, we made a “paper first” newspaper with this news published first on paper and then digitally. We sent to the TV channels only the first “alarmist” version. And we left for you the pleasure of discovering the truth through the paper.
It is a tribute to our readers at newsstands, who either get angry or smile when turning our pages. That’s the sign of our bond, our pact, with readers signed in 1971.
In September, there will be many new features for the subscription campaign and the heart of this change will again be the paper. Today, it is the beginning of a new story. We can only get better. Together.