The Economist Group has shown other print groups what the future looks like — although some will never reach it. The company grew profits to just under 61 million pounds in the year to March 31 (just over A$100 million), despite an 18% fall in print ad revenues. That fall was partly offset by higher digital ad revenues and over group ad revenues were down 8% from the previous year. That profit figure however was lower than the most recent high of 64 million pounds in 2012-13.

Despite that fall in ad revenues, the newspaper said it managed a small rise in revenue from 324 million pounds in 2014-15 to 331 million million in the year to the end of March thanks to higher circulation revenues and income from other parts of the company. Total weekly circulation remained steady at 1.6 million, despite lower newsstand sales, which were offset by higher digital subscriptions.

To overcome the fall in print ads, The Economist stepped up its strategy of pushing readers to premium packages of print and digital deals. As a result circulation profits jumped 31% year-on-year and digital subscriber numbers were up 27%.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey