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Why The Economist streamlined its sprawling product portfolio: The Media Roundup

The Economist moves decisively digital while staying true to its values

Tom Standage, Deputy Editor and Head of Digital Strategy at The Economist, shares his thoughts on why great journalism needs a great product and engineering team and why journalists must understand their media company’s business model. There are some real gems of insight here about the importance of tech and product investment alongside high quality content:

“We had a sprawling portfolio of lots of different apps,” Standage said. “If you were a subscriber, you had to download something like seven apps and go to six different websites in order to see everything you were entitled to.”

Chief Executive Lara Boro pointed out this was dumb. Now, the publisher has been working on amalgamating and improving itself as a product and technology organisation. By the looks of it, it’s paying off.

Google Chrome delays third-party cookies phase out to 2024

“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome,” the tech giant has said. No surprises here, and brace for a firehose of think-pieces on the potential impacts over the next few months.

Theft of news articles and entire websites more than doubled in UK in 2021

NLA Media Access got more than 50,000 cloned and ripped-off news articles removed from 1,000 fake or illegitimate news sites in 2021; more than double compared to the year before. I’ve seen a number of these in action – one site even uses a thesaurus-style plugin to change words in order to avoid technical copyright breach which, of course, makes it sound like nonsense.

Sunset of the social network

Facebook’s TikTok-style redesign marks the end of the era in which your friends shaped your online life. I hadn’t thought about it this way, but it’s true that every social network has now shifted towards a feed of algorithmically-sorted preferences. Even Twitter feeds are now majority ‘topics’ and recommendations of tweets I might like from people I don’t follow.

This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: