Print editions today are dramatically going down in their circulations the same as in advertisement revenues. And business editions belong to the print mediums that suffer the most.
The readers and advertisers today are more and more switching to the Internet. Financial crisis even made the situation worsen. In September the oldest Asian economic magazine The Far Eastern Economic Review, published in Hong Kong since 1946, went out of business. BusinessWeek magazine, a respectable edition which is distributed in 140 countries worldwide, was offered for sale in July because of dramatic decline in revenues and readership. And so on, and so on...
What is the future of business journalism and business magazines? We tried to find the answer based on the success story of the worldwide known and respectable The Economist magazine, in the interview with Charlotte COGHILL, its Brand Communication Manager for Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa.
- Charlotte, during this year a lot of editions including business newspaper went out of business. At the same time revenues of online medium is still growing. Do you think financial crisis was the main reason for that or the crisis just became a catalyst of era of print journalism to go to its end?
As the economy worsens, quality current affairs magazines are bucking the industry trend and growing in sales. As people are realizing how the world outside can genuinely affect their lives this is a habit that is going to be hard to break. Advertisement revenues have dramatically collapsed in the wake of the recession but this cannot be the only reason why some business newspapers have failed. The Economist's growing circulation shows that people are willing to pay for unique analysis of the political and economic situation.
- Most of newspapers and magazines today have their sites and online versions. For your opinion, how to make print and online versions not competitors but supplements of each other?
Our readers appreciate the broad spectrum of media and information available to them, fulfilling their varying needs. They view The Economist as a three-course meal of opinion and analysis (versus internet snacking). At the same time, Economist.com offers them news, columns, blogs, a fully searchable archive and a complete, downloadable audio edition.
- For all that why do you think people keep choosing print magazines versus online versions? To feel the ink smell and to hear pages rustling?
Readers have an emotional connection with the magazine; they look forward to settling down at the weekend with their new copy. They are not just reading to impress the boss or because they think they should. It's their ritual pleasure.
- There was an opinion that the quality of journalism and credibility of information presented by mass media is expected to take a turn for the worse due to the fact that many respectable editions closed their foreign bureaus because of financial circumstances. Thus the information from some world regions might be inaccurate, because local journalists are not trustworthy sometimes. Do you support this opinion?
You know, The Economist is a truly global publication, sold in 201 countries and territories. It is important that our coverage reflects this and as such we have correspondent all over the world, from Berlin and Washington to Hong Kong and Mumbai .
- Has the magazine somehow reduced the number of staff during 3 last years? What about internship programs?
I will just say that we haven't reduced the number of journalists and continue our internship program.
- In the Economist group that manages not only the Economist magazine but other print editions. Are there any plans to completely switch any of them to online platform and reject print version?
At the current time, there are no plans for any of The Economist Group publications to be online only.
Because our readers still value their print editions and consider them value for time.
- How the Economist magazine sees its targeted audience? Who is an average reader? How do you find a balance between fitting the focus area and being approachable to an average people?
The Economist attracts a diverse readership - united by the way they think. Economist readers are unexpected, they do more than just business. Famous readers include everyone from Bill Gates to Paris Hilton. The Economist is for anyone who wants to make sense of the world. Our consistent global growth over the last 28 years shows that there are more and more curious people who seek out intelligence and insight and have discovered that The Economist offers both. Only 1% of subscribers are economists!
- Do you notice the change in your audience? The audience's preferences? Do the people read less?
Well, in the wake of the recession and despite growing trouble in the print media industry, The Economist continues to attract readers who trust and value our commentary on everything from the euro-area economy and US health reforms to global warming and the car industry. The Economist remains independent and relevant and our growing readership suggests there is a need for understanding in these troubled times.
- What is the situation with the Economist magazine regarding its circulation and advertisement incomes tendencies?
- The Economist puts the reader first. It's designed for readers, we make money from circulation (unlike most magazines), and we do not allow commercial considerations to affect what we write about. ABC figures released in August 2009 show global year-on-year growth of 6.4%, and a total worldwide circulation of 1,390,780, almost doubling in ten years. The Economist Group's year end results (March 31st 2009) reported record profits with revenue up 17% to £313m.
- This is a really amazing thing. What is the secret of the Economist's success?
- People are willing to pay for the unique mix of news, insight and opinion.
- Do you believe that print journalism is about to die?
- The Economist's 1.39 million circulation shows that intelligent audiences do want smart media. The Economist is a ritual pleasure that readers make time for, they consider the mix of news, insight and opinion to be "value for time". A three-course meal (versus internet snacking) - it satisfies their curiosity, their need to know more.
The interview taken by Dinara TUSSUPOVA exclusively for BizMedia web-site.
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Speaker's Bio: Charlotte Coghill is a Brand Communication Manager for Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa in the Economist magazine. She has been working for this edition for 5 years.
-The best thing and the hardest thing of working with the Economist group:
Every day is different, you meet interesting people and are always challenged.
-How could you describe the Economist magazine's content if it will be a three course meal:
The Economist presents well-considered analysis of the world's business, political, scientific, technological and cultural affairs and the connections between them.
The Economist magazine was founded in 1843 in the United Kingdom. Still it is one of the respectable economic editions in the world, which keeps its attractiveness for readers and has a successful financial situation also. The magazine is published by the Economist Group that manages also Intelligent Life (over 900 thousand copies circulation is expected for 2009) and World In (175 thousand copies circulation per quarter) magazines.
The Economist in Continental Europe (including CIS countries):
The median age of the magazine's subscribers is 46 years
The gender of the readers goes as follow: 87% are males, and 13% are females.
The subscribers median income is 128.000 euro per year
The Economist Worldwide:
The median age of the magazine's subscribers is 47 years
The gender of the readers goes as follow: 87% are males, and 13% are females.
The subscribers median income is 175.000 euro per year
The worldwide circulation in January-June, 2009 exceeded 1.42 million copies.