It was in October, on stage at our Future Of Business Media conference, that The Economist publisher Paul Rossi first wondered about the resurrection of the online paid content model.
Now the website, which, since 2007, has charged only for stories more than a year old, tells us MediaWeek’s report, that it will put all its material behind a pay wall, is premature.
MediaWeek reports with certainty that “The Economist is to charge for news content across its website”, while the company tells us: “It’s something that we are considering but nothing has been decided yet.”
If anyone can charge, Economist.com can charge. Amid an oversupply of information, the magazine is carving out a place for itself as a home for considered analysis and opinion. July-to-December mag sales rose 6.8 percent to 1.39 million copies and operating profits were 26 percent up to £56 million on 17 percent better revenue of £313 million.
Online, Economist.com increased its advertising revenue by 29 percent year-on-year, while page views increased 53 percent.
One could argue Economist.com’s model right now is the opposite of what it should be – the new material from the £4 printed mag goes free, while the old stuff is charged for. A current web-and-print subscription costs $126.99 a year, while online only comes at $89.99.