“Just putting print online was never going to be enough” said Audra Martin, vice president of customer engagement at the Economist, at today’s Paywall Strategies conference.
And digital is driving production. “We had to up the amount and frequency we were publishing.
“We have doubled the content we have produced over last two years,” she said, with “blogs accounting for half of content”.
Martin explained how the Economist, which charges readers to use its apps and the majority of the content on its website, is growing its communities, not just paying subscribers.
One way is by focusing on social media optimisation. “We’ve got smart of how and when post things,” she said, with consideration given to different global audiences. “And it amplifies.”
And once people see the kind of content available, they will pay to access they will pay for it. “If they taste it, they will want more,” she said.
Despite recent digital successes and developments – with digital-only subscriptions topping 100,000 at the end of last year, 300,000 out of the Economist’s one million print subscribers using the Economist’s apps, and 70 per cent of subscribers expecting expect to be reading the publication digitally in two years – the magazine remains committed to print.
“We will continue to print the newspaper as long as people want to consume it,” she said.
“But we want to be ahead of of the game when people move from print to digital.”