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#PPAdigital: Lean back, lean forward at The Economist

September 26th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Mobile, Online Journalism

The Economist divides its digital products into those that involve two reading behaviours: “lean-back 2.0″, which is the print-like digital experience of tablets, and “lean-forward 2.0″, a website experience.

At today’s PPA Digital Publishing Conference, Neelay Patel, vice president, commercial strategy, The Economist, said the title therefore offers three product types: lean-back in print, lean-forward on the web, and lean-back in digital.

And the new platforms are expanding the reach of the 160-year-old title, Patel explained.

Our potential audience is now much broader with digital.

Lean back

“Lean-back 2.0″ is an “immersive, reflexive, browsable, ritualistic, finishable” experience, Patel explained.

Lean-back readers like long-form journalism. “42 per cent of tablet news readers regularly read in-depth articles,” Patel said, based on a study the title did with the Pew Research Center. “And another 40 per cent sometimes do this.”

The Economist has taken this research and used the information when thinking about its “lean-back 2.0″ strategy.

And digital solves distribution problems. Patel explained that with print it could take six days, until the Wednesday after being published on a Thursday, to get an edition to Latin America or Australia. “With digital it’s instant.”

Lean forward

“Lean-forward 2.0″ is about the web experience. The online readership is very social, with articles spread via social media. In response to a question from a conference delegate, Patel said that social is one factor that helps The Economist address a potential hurdle – that those unfamiliar with the content think it is all about economics.

The discoverability of the content on the web (or lean-forward 2.0) and the social elements helps market the content. By coming across articles online “you then find out that it’s about far more than economics”, Patel explained.

Spreading the word

So The Economist aims to introduce its content to audiences that “do not know our brand” and has to get the marketing message across to jump the hurdle of the name ‘The Economist’, Patel said.

One of its challenges is to get that and other marketing messages in the “tiny little squares” offered by banners, buttons and icons of digital, Patel added.

In closing he said:

We’ve been very successful in print – and now we are successful in digital. But we must continually challenge ourselves.

 

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The Economist in figures: Social media, newsletter and circulation stats

September 11th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism

The Economist has released a set of audited statistics that show combined print and digital circulations, social media followers and newsletter subscribers.

The stats show:

  • Average print and paid digital editions circulation from January to June 2012 = more than 1.5 million
  • Average weekly unique devices accessing The Economist apps = more than 600,000
  • Total monthly unique browsers to The Economist website = nearly 7 million
  • More than 2 million unique newsletter opens, with a unique open rate of 13.9 per cent
  • A total of 5.6 million social media followers, including: 2.8 million Twitter followers, 1.1 million Facebook likes, 1.6 million followers on Google+ and 55,000 Tumblr followers.

In addition to worldwide data, each regional edition is featured in a separate section in the report.

UK stats show:

  • Print circulation = more than 210,000 (worldwide = 840,000)
  • Average weekly unique devices accessing The Economist apps = nearly 80,000 (worldwide = 600,000)
  • Total monthly unique browsers to The Economist website = 650,000 (worldwide 7 million)

According to a release, this is the first ‘consolidated media report’ for the title, which has been released by Audit Bureau of Circulations North America, with support from ABC UK.

The full stats, which are worth a look, are at this link.

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#Podcast – Lessons in podcasting from The Times, Economist and SoundCloud

August 3rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast
Image by M. Keefe on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkeefe/2349283746/sizes/l/

Image by M. Keefe on Flickr. Some rights reserved

News outlets may have been creating podcasts for a number of years but they continue to evolve and innovate in their audio offerings and the platforms on which they distribute.

This podcast examines different styles of podcasting, and includes tips for news outlets thinking of experimenting in audio.

Journalism.co.uk technology editor Sarah Marshall speaks to:

  • Chris Skinner, producer and presenter of the Olympic Games podcast from The Times
  • Tom Standage, digital editor at the Economist
  • Ben Fawkes, audio content manager as SoundCloud

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

For more on podcasting here is a guide on how to become a podcaster. It may be from 2006 but much of it is still relevant.

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#jpod: How news sites can become more social

Publishers have spent the last few years engaging with their readers away from their news sites: on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, for example.

Now some news outlets are adding a social layer to their own sites by doing things such as encouraging social login and trying out gaming mechanics and badge loyalty reward schemes.

In this week’s #jpod Journalism.co.uk technology correspondent Sarah Marshall explores how to make news sites more social by speaking to Alan Tarkowski from Gigya, a company that makes sites social, and Ron Diorio, vice president of business development and innovation for the Economist online.

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Mashable: How paywalls are changing social media strategies

Mashable has taken a look at three paywalled sites: the Dallas Morning News, the Economist and the Honolulu Civil Beat.

It has talked to community editors on the titles about how they promote stories via social media without incurring the wrath of angry readers who follow links to then find they are blocked by a paywall.

Dallas Morning News

Travis Hudson, a Dallas Morning News web editor, manages the site’s Twitter account and Facebook fan page, where he shares both free and premium content.

Like any good social media strategist, transparency is key for Hudson.

He designates whether a link is behind the paywall when posting it on Facebook or Twitter.

The Economist

Social media helps the site reach subscribers, regular readers and new readers by the means most convenient to them, while providing an opportunity to spark discussions around the Economist’s coverage areas.

“Readers who are empowered to participate are likely to spend more time with the site, return more often and become more active advocates of our work,” [Mark Johnson, The Economist's community editor] says.

With the metered model, Johnson and other web producers can share any articles on social networks without experiencing the backlash of readers’ inability to access the site. Perhaps more importantly, they’re able to bring in more traffic.

“Referrals to the site from social networks, and the pageviews generated by such referrals, have grown almost every month since our social strategy began,” Johnson says. “Nor is this growth slowing. If anything, it’s speeding up.”

Honolulu Civil Beat

Online-only local news site the Honolulu Civil Beat is coming up on the one-year anniversary of its launch.

Though content is and always has been free through email, the site initially gave only partial access to visitors who came through social networks.

Beginning January 2011, however, all visitors can read all articles until they visit regularly enough to be asked to become a member.

“We figured, if they’re reading us that much they would be happy to become a member, and we’d be happy to have them,” says Dan Zelikman, the Civil Beat‘s marketing and community host.

There is no specific threshold number. Rather, the site runs a custom program that asks a reader to subscribe based on how often and how much he or she reads.

“Basically, if you read a couple of times a week, it will take a while before we ask you to register,” Zelikman says.

Reading access aside, the Civil Beat’s subscription model fosters community by only allowing members to comment on articles. In addition, subscribers experience the site without advertising, a perk that’s particularly popular with the community.

Mashable’s full article is at this link.

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UK publishers dominate top grossing iPhone news apps list

December 30th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile, Traffic

British news publishers are leading the way in the iPhone app download charts, according to rankings displayed in Apple’s iTunes store.

The Guardian (version 1) tops the list, followed by MailOnline in third place. The top five grossing UK news apps are:

  1. The Guardian (version 1)
  2. MailOnline
  3. The Economist
  4. The Sun: Bizarre
  5. The Scotsman

iTunes also lists the top free iPhone news apps but apparently uses an algorithm based on the last four days of sales/downloads. So, bearing in mind this is more of a snapshot (which may also be a bit  skewed because we are currently in holiday season), the top five free UK news apps are currently:

  1. BBC News
  2. Sky News
  3. MailOnline
  4. FT Mobile
  5. The Economist

At the time of writing, they also appeared in the same ranking for worldwide news apps.

The top five paid-for UK news apps are currently:

  1. The Guardian (version 1)
  2. This is Bristol
  3. The Scotsman
  4. Macworld UK
  5. MacUser Magazine

Journalism.co.uk’s own free news app, which features this blog, our main news, editorial job listings and press releases, is currently ranked 72.

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Economist launches apps for iPad and iPhone

November 19th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Mobile, Newspapers

The Economist has today launched apps for the iPad and iPhone. The apps can be downloaded for free and offer users a weekly sample of articles chosen by the editor.

The full issue of the Economist will be available to purchase through the applications every Thursday evening for £3.49 each week for a single issue.

Digital and print subscribers to the Economist will receive full access to the print edition and website’s content via the apps.

Oscar Grut, managing director of digital editions for the Economist, says in a release that he expects digital downloads to match the title’s print circulation of 1.5 million “in a relatively short period of time”. He hopes the free apps will help attract new readers to the title, who will be encourage to take out subscriptions to the full edition.

Says editor John Micklethwait:

We have reformatted the newspaper to make the most of iPad, iPhone and iPod touch while retaining the familiar feel of the Economist, with all the articles, charts, maps and images from each week’s print edition. And we have integrated our audio edition, read by professional newscasters, for easy switching between reading and listening. We have put a lot of work into making sure that these new versions of the Economist are not just easy to use, but also make our readers feel at home.

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Peter Preston: Can the Economist succeed where Newsweek has failed?

May 10th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Peter Preston looks into the problems faced by weekly US news magazine Newsweek, which was put up for sale by its owners the Washington Post Co. last week, and asks if news magazines need to rethink their remit:

America is a huge, scattered country. Before mass television, before satellite printing and long before the internet, it needed news magazines to set a national agenda and provide a common framework of fact and perception. It needed Time and then its slightly more liberal competitor, Newsweek.

But now the national agenda rasps away on cable 24/7. Now the facts are familiar and the perceptions old hat by the time they drop on the mat. Now readers don’t want to be told what’s happened in the past seven days, but how it fits and what to think about it. They need analysis and context, in short: not old, broken news. They need The Economist.

Full post at this link…

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Beet.TV: Daniel Franklin on the Economist’s ‘collective voice’

Economist executive editor Daniel Franklin talks about how the Economist has developed its writing style and why a lack of bylines in the newspaper doesn’t mean a lack of individuality.

On its website, writers’ initials are now included on blog posts – including its recently launched technology blog – to reflect “the personal nature of blogs”:

Full post at this link….

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#FollowJourn: @catherine_mayer / magazine journalist

November 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Catherine Mayer

Who? London bureau chief for Time Magazine.

What? Started her career at the Economist in the 1980s; frequent speaker at events (eg. at the LSE).

Where? On Twitter / Time Magazine.

Contact? On Twitter or via Time Magazine.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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