How Subscriptions Became a Driver of Profit at The Economist
Subscriptions have become The Economist’s biggest income stream in the past seven years. Michael Brunt, chief marketing officer and managing director, circulation at The Economist explains how they managed to transform the 174-year old title’s circulation business into the biggest driver of profits.
Taking to the stage at FIPP’s recent World Congress in London, Michael Brunt was keen to share a key part of his job description when he joined The Economist in 2006: ‘Build the audience our advertisers want to reach.’
At the time the circulation business at The Economist was making a huge loss, yet it was not a huge matter of concern to the business because the circulation model was primarily designed to support advertising revenues. While that pivotal part of his job description remains unchanged in his personal file to this day, Brunt explains that it soon became apparent that, just like what was being experienced in the rest of the publishing industry, advertising revenues started to decline. “We needed to react to this disruption by building profits on our circulation.”