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Revenues and Profits Up for The Economist Group

The year 2013 may be a break-out one for digital.

The Economist Group released its annual report, fiscal year ending March 31, and both revenue and operating profits are up while circulation for the magazine, including digital, continues to climb.

According to the company's report, revenues were up 4 percent versus 2011 to about $570 million. Operating profits broke a record with a 6 percent jump to $105 million. The numbers cap five straight years of growth for the company.

In The Economist Group's report, chairman Rupert Pennant-Rea points out that revenues are less dependent on print advertising, with content sales now representing the majority. "Ten years ago [print advertising] accounted for 46 percent of the Group's revenue; today only 29 percent. That change has happened mainly because our revenue comes increasingly from (less cyclical) sales of content—now 57 percent of the total, compared with 48 percent ten years ago," he said.

Subscription and circulation revenue accounted for $279 million in fiscal 2012 while advertising brought in $200 million.

Regionally, the Americas and CQ Roll Call accounted for $258 million, or about 45 percent, of overall revenues.

Circulation of The Economist was 1.6 million in fiscal 2012, with 123,000 of that in digital. While that's still a small percentage, the company may be bracing for a significant uptick in digital subscribers.

Oscar Grut, managing director, Economist Digital, pointed out in the annual report that existing readers might be switching to the digital platform in the next year: "Last year, in a study we carried out among our subscribers in America, the vast majority of respondents told us that while at the time of the study their preferred way of reading The Economist was in print, over 60 percent expected that by 2013 their preference would be for a digital format."

By the end of the fiscal year, according to Grut, paid digital-only circ grew more than 50 percent from 78,000 to more than 120,000. More than 300,000 print subscribers were also reading the brand on a digital device each week, up from 100,000 just last year. 


 Source: Economist Group 2012 Annual Report

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