Amid a landscape of languishing magazines, The Economist sits with an enviable subscriber base that just keeps growing.
In the U.S. alone, the U.K.-based weekly, which debuted here 16 years ago, saw its readership climb 9.2% year-over-year in the last half of 2008, with newsstand circulation up 10.9% in that period and global circulation up 6.4% to 1.4 million. In the first quarter of this year, circulation rose 7% in the U.S., which for the last three years has represented the greatest share of The Economist's audience globally.
“It's an editorial product whose time has come,” said Jason Webby, senior VP-sales, the Americas, for the Economist Group. In light of the current international economic downturn, The Economist's world view resonates with readers, he said.
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Traffic: 4.1 million unique monthly visitors***
Ad revenue (print): $131.5 million*
Ad revenue (online): N/A
Ad rate (print): $62,600 for 1 page 4/C
Ad rate (online): $35 CPM
Comment: The Economist attracts a business audience with its global perspective on politics and finance, and b2b advertisers have followed this audience, both in print and online.
“We live in a global economy, and what happens here affects what happens in other parts of the world,” said David Rowe, VP-media director of b2b agency Doremus. “That's been the charter of The Economist. And nobody does it better than [it].”
Webby also credited an Obie Award-winning, out-of-home ad campaign for the magazine from BBDO New York. Ads running in key cities feature local-themed creative, such as a San Francisco billboard saying how reading The Economist can help a reader “Lift the fog,” or in Washington, D.C., how it can help someone “Climb the Hill.”
The Economist isn't immune to the recession, however. Ad revenue totaled $27.9 million in the first quarter, down 10.9% from a year earlier, with ad pages off 18.8%, according to Publishers Information Bureau. By comparison, BusinessWeek's ad pages were down 39.8% and Fortune's were off 26.3%.
Ad slump aside, Webby said, The Economist hopes its integrated approach will appeal to advertisers trying to reach readers “on a multitude of touch points.” These touch points include economist.com, events and the magazine's b2b research arm, the Economist Intelligence Unit, which provides clients with customized financial research on markets around the world.
The magazine's often witty and opinionated tone is another selling point, Webby said, and the voice is amplified on the Web through blogs, video news updates and a live online debate series.
That distinctive tone has helped The Economist establish a loyal readership in the U.S.
“It's not just a U.K. publication that has circulation over here,” said Vickie Szombathy, VP-media director at Spark Communications. “It's finding itself on equal footing as newsmagazines for clients seeking to reach the C-suite executives and decision-makers.”