“Out in front” is a massive understatement here. The Economist is the front-runner in digital magazine circulation by a country mile. It is just a few thousand subscribers short of a million, while the number two spot – held by Time Magazine EMEA – has just 38,000 subscribers. In fact, The Economist accounts for nearly half of all digital magazine subscriptions audited by ABC in the UK.
I’d love to know why there is such a gulf between The Economist and everyone else. The publisher has consistently been one of the leaders in its focus on excellent products, and it offers the digital edition as part of its standard digital subscription. But a longstanding reputation for good apps and decent bundling doesn’t quite explain it.
It’s also positive to note that overall digital edition sales are up. Digital editions of magazines have had their deaths foretold many times over now, so it’s good to see the format proving resilient and profitable to publishers, even in 2022.
…On which note! Recent deals show how much modern media companies have become reliant on print magazine brands to grow their empires. As the process to take a print brand digital is now much less painful than it used to be, some publishers are now more attractive acquisition targets. But please, let’s not call this the ‘golden age’.
There is an unbelievable demand for content around the world. Increasingly, that demand is in languages other than English, which shouldn’t be surprising. People, of course, want to consume content in their first language. So there are opportunities here that more publishers could be taking advantage of.
The collapse of the old business model has made journalists recognise that marketing is really about serving the most important audience — the readers, viewers, and listeners. Publishers are discovering that their product won’t sell itself. They have to remind people of its value. A nice overview of some marketing messaging from news publishers across Europe.
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