Ads Didn't Hurt
The Economist - the print publication that ate the newsweekly market single-handedly via the strange strategy of maintaining extremely highly sophisticated news coverage without dumbing down its tone - now has ten percent of its subscribers as online-only paying members. The 150,000 online-only readers have not yet cut into its print circulation on a gross basis, "but it will," said the firm's digital editor to The Editors Weblog.
The move from one million print subscribers to 1.5 million happened in a few years, perhaps hastened by the whole or partial print demise of former major competitors such as Time and Newsweek. The Economist's corporate attitude, however, is to make haste destroying its hard-fought gains with a superior online offering, lest someone else do it for them.
The online apps available for The Economist currently are mere analogs for the print publication. This is, according to the digital management, a deliberate transition for their existing market, exploiting their familiarity with the somewhat unique Economist format. They do not expect to remain in that design rut.