Earnings: Economist Powers Ahead In Print

It was rare to see a printed-news publisher doing well financially before the recession, so its even more notable to see one making money now. For the year to March 31, Economist Group posted operating profits 26 percent higher than last year at £56 million and revenue 17 percent better revenue of £313 million.

The group, half owned by Financial times owner Pearson (NYSE: PSO), has put its faith in serious analysis in print, and it seems to have paid off. More impressively in a time of depressed CPMs and shrinking budgets, Economist.com increased its advertising revenue by 29 percent year-on-year, while page views increased 53 percent.

The next big thing is paper: The company’s release says those increases are the result of print-circulation growth. The mag sold an average of 1.39 million copies in the second half of 2008, a 6.4 percent rise over the previous period — but the truth is that profit increases wouldn’t have been possible without having cut some 130 people, including a few this year. The company <a href="http://paidcontent.co.uk/article/419-print-round-up-telegraph-gets-demotic-widget-economist-shuts-mag-centau/" title="shut its CFO Europe magazine”>shut its CFO Europe magazine this month after closing its China and Asia-wide editions in February.

More FT cost cuts: Meanwhile at the Financial Times, staff are being encouraged to take extra holidays on 30 percent pay in a bid to further cut costs, but less then 10 percent of staff have taken up the offer so far, according to Telegraph.co.uk. As we reported in February, the paper is offering a range of measures to cut its staff budget, including working three- or four-day weeks. The paper laid off 80 people in January.