Tag Archives: The Economist

Economist to publish digital short books

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The Economist has struck a deal with a division of Penguin Books to publish, in digital form, its long-form journalistic reports.

Lucy Tesseras of New Media Age reports, “The Economist will initially launch with five titles that were previously published within the magazine under the Penguin Economist Specials name. Penguin Specials is a sub-brand of Penguin Shorts, which focuses on contemporary journalism and essays.

Tom Standage, The Economist’s digital editor, said, ‘We’re trying to encourage subscribers to think of themselves as subscribers to a weekly bundle of content, rather than subscribers to a print magazine. How they choose to consume content, which may change from week to week, or day to day, is up to them.’

“The Economist’s special reports tend to be around 15,000 words long and are self contained, so are well suited to the ebook format.”

Read more here.

The Economist and its continued growth

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Peter Lauria of Reuters talked with Andrew Rashbass, the chief executive of The Economist Group, about the magazine’s continued growth.

Lauria writes, “Figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation released on Thursday showed that The Economist increased its combined print and digital paid circulation by just under 1 percent to 1.59 million during the July-December 2011 period, marking the first time it passed 1.5 million circulation.

“Print still dominates the weekly magazine’s audience, with 1.49 million people reading articles in that form compared with 100,000 reading them digitally. In North America, The Economist’s largest market, circulation increased 1.3 percent during the period to 845,000.

“It took The Economist, established in 1843, 161 years to break the 1 million circulation barrier in 2004. Rashbass predicts the magazine will crack 2 million within five years, with more than half of that coming from digital platforms.

“‘Twenty years ago people were saying that The Economist’s covers weren’t newsstand oriented, and 20 years later they still aren’t, but that doesn’t seem to matter,’ said Reed Phillips, managing director at boutique media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips.

“The Economist’s growth comes amid a punishing environment for print magazines, which have seen their bottom lines steadily decline as readers and advertisers migrate to digital platforms.

“For example, Time’s paid circulation fell 0.5 percent for the six months ended December 31, 2011, to 3.3 million, while Newsweek’s fell 1.8 percent to 1.5 million. Among business publications, Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 1 percent gain in total paid circulation to 932,500.”

Read more here.

The Economist’s shift to digital

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Martin Belam blogs about how The Economist has made the transformation from a traditional print product to one focusing on digital delivery in the wake of Economist digital editor Tom Standage speaking last week at news:rewired.

Belam writes, “Standage showed an amazing graph that illustrated that if you ask readers of the Economist how they consume the content now, 80% of them say in print, and 20% say digital. But if you ask them how they expect to consume it in two years time, an astonishing 70% say they expect it will be digital, and only 30% print. These are not some white-coated futurologists predicting the looming end of times for print, they are the Economist’s own most loyal readers. It was an astonishing thought that the readers themselves expect to shift that quickly.

“The change in the Economist’s digital strategy had also seen them adopt a ‘metered paywall’ approach. This, he explained, had been brilliant for traffic. After years of locking the search engines out, now suddenly their whole archive is available. A three year old article about Iran, he said, does just as good a job of advertising what they are about and why you should be reading them as the ones form this week. He said it was ‘crucial’ that content could be ‘sampled and shared on social media.’

“Just at the end of his talk, Tom made one vital point that underpins the entire Economist strategy – ‘the unspoken assumption is that you have distinctive content that people value.’”

Read more here.

Website slams all-white staff at Economist

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A website has been created called http://economist-staff.com/ that is critical of the British-based business magazine because 94 of its 96 staffers listed in its online directory are white, contrary to its stated mission of promoting diversity.

The site was created by Adriel Luis, a Colorlines.com contributor and artist based in Brooklyn.

Economist launches China section

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The Economist launched on Friday a new section on China in the magazine’s first new section devoted to a single country for 70 years.

The inaugural China section will cover aspects — political, economic and social – of the nation’s rising power in an attempt to give an even deeper understanding of the vast country.

It will join existing sections on the United States and Britain, as well as the regions of The Americas, Asia, Middle East & Africa, and Europe.

The last new country section to be added to The Economist was the U.S., after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The Britain section has been included since The Economist was first published in 1843.

“We have always covered China in depth,” said Economist editor John Micklethwait in a statement. “However, I decided that China’s emergence as a global power justified giving it a section of its own. It also allows us to devote more space each week to covering the deeper social, political and economic issues in the country, especially the China beyond Beijing and Shanghai. That is how we built up the reputation of the American Survey. We hope the China section becomes the starting point for anyone who wants to know more about this absorbing, complicated country.”

Read more here.

Two biz magazine covers among the 10 best of the year

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Advertising Age picked the top 10 best magazine covers of the year, and a cover from Bloomberg Businessweek and a cover from The Economist made the list.

For the Bloomberg Businessweek cover, Advertising Age wrote, “Ousting Muammar Gaddafi gave the West’s oil companies new openings in Libya, but the country would need stability before anyone could move forward. David Foldvari’s illustration suggested the situation wasn’t pretty.”

For The Economist cover, Advertising Age noted, “Greece threatened to part ways with the euro amid a debt crisis that threatened Europe’s economic system and neighboring countries. For its European edition, The Economist made a complicated situation plain.”

See all of the covers here.

The Economist looks at Bloomberg vs. Reuters

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The latest edition of The Economist examines why Reuters has been losing market share to Bloomberg and what could happen with its new CEO.

The Economist writes, “The revenues of the professional division of Thomson Reuters grew by 10% in the year to the third quarter, but those of the markets division—which provides financial data and services, and accounts for more than half of total sales—managed only 1%. Last year that division launched a new information platform, Eikon, to compete with the terminals offered by Bloomberg, but just 8,000 customers have taken it up. The company has 400,000 financial-data subscribers in all.

“Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg are the big fish in the professional-publishing pond, at least eight times larger than their nearest competitor. Bloomberg, besides expanding its terminals business, which has over 300,000 customers (at about $20,000 a pop), is pushing into government-related news and data. In 2010 it launched Bloomberg Government, which competes with Congressional Quarterly, a sister company of The Economist. In September it made its biggest purchase ever, spending $990m on BNA, a legal- and tax-information firm.

“So what happened to Mr Glocer’s winning streak? His allies say his departure was always just a matter of time: once a firm buys another, it completes the takeover by putting its own people in charge. The Thomson family still owns 55% of the company, and some think the generous price Mr Glocer secured from Thomson for Reuters made him all the more vulnerable.

“But he might have stayed longer were it not for a mix of bad luck and overconfidence. Eikon, intended to replace Reuters’ grab bag of services with a single offering, was designed to be more user-friendly than Bloomberg’s devices, but it was launched hastily and with flaws. With hindsight, a more gradual upgrade might have been more prudent.”

Read more here.

The secret to digital success at The Economist

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Roy Greenslade of The Guardian in London takes a look at The Economist and its success when interviewing CEO Andrew Rashbass.

Greenslade writes, “So in this interview, his first for more than four years, he says he wants to tell a commercial story, not an editorial one. In fact, it turns out to be more of a digital story.

“Rashbass begins with a preface: ‘Print sales are holding up but I expect them to go backwards.’ Then he continues: ‘I’m relaxed about that because I am convinced we will end up with a bigger paid circulation in the end.’

“He is not talking about the magazine’s website users, but about the anticipated take-up for the Economist’s tablet apps. It is 18 months since the magazine launched a Kindle app and about 12 months since it did the same for the iPad and iPhone.

“Now the magazine boasts 100,000 digital subscribers. They do include website users, though they are the minority. Kindle accounts for a smallish proportion too. The bulk has been attracted by the iPad app.

“It is a screen replica of the print issue’s pages that eschews any need to scroll, making it a reading experience that is far closer to holding a printed magazine itself.”

Read more here.

Economist discovers it has been giving away free digital subscriptions

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Robert Andrews of PaidContent.org reports Thursday that the Economist next week will revoke premium digital subscriptions from some users after realizing it had been accidentally servicing them for free.

Andrews writes, “‘Unfortunately, we have been providing you with full digital access in error,’ the journal emailed users to say (see below). Some of those users had been getting a free ride for up to five years, according to tweets. The scale of the error is not clear.

“‘There was an error in our database which resulted in a number of people being assigned full subscription rights by mistake,’ Economist digital editions publisher Oscar Grut tells paidContent.

“The Economist‘s digital-only, multi-device subscription package costs £119.99/$110 per year, even though combined print and digital subscription is cheaper in the UK at least, at £102/$126.99.

“The Economist would not be the first media company to get its customer database in order. In 2006, a Virgin Media data cleanse resulted in it removing around 60,000 phantom customers from its books.

“Having done its cleansing, The Economist can now move forward with a revised iPad app that both takes subscriptions through iTunes and grants access to existing, legitimate subscribers.”

Read more here.

Economist hits circulation high

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The Economist continued to see growth in circulation for the first half of 2011, with ABC reporting a 2.64 percent circulation increase in year-over-year comparison, reports Stefanie Botelho from Folio.

Botelho writes, “North American subs are now up to 844,387, the largest number in The Economist’s history. Digital subs are also up at 5,245; four times higher than last year’s number.

“Globally, The Economist has 1.5 million subscribers, with a steady 3 percent increase of added subscribers year-over-year. This amounts to an overall 89 percent increase in subscriptions over the last decade.

“During fiscal 2011, which ended on March 31, The Economist saw 14 percent growth in its print advertising, up to $171.9 million. Digital advertising was even stronger, up 23 percent to $32.4 million.

“In first quarter 2011, PIB reported that ad pages were up 4.2 percent in year-over-year comparison.”

Read more here.