As other media companies struggle to survive, at least one seems to be doing very well: the Economist Group.
Last week, The Atlantic compared The Economist to Time and Newsweek, pointing out that the Economist had seen “advertising revenues increase last year by double digits — a remarkable 25 percent,” while the other two American newsweeklies had faltered.
Now comes more good news from The Economist Group, which publishes the magazine as well as titles like CFO and the Washington, D.C. pub Roll Call. According to a release put out by the company today, the group’s profit is up 26 percent (to almost $92 million ) and revenue is up 17 percent (to $513 million) for the fiscal year ending on March 31. What’s more, The Economist‘s worldwide circulation is up 6.4 percent to 1.39 million.
What could be behind such success in an age of dying print media?
The Economist Group attributes its success to strong brands.
“These results demonstrate once again that great brands delivering real value to readers and advertisers thrive even when the economic cycle turns and when the structure of the industry is evolving in the way information and advertising are consumed and delivered,” CEO Andrew Rashbass said in the release
The group also launched a new “regionalised structure” last year, splitting management of the group into four regions — Asia, U.S., the U.K. and Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa. “This has enabled more efficient use of resources and made it easier for clients to work with the Group,” the company said.
The group is also strong enough to continue to pick up rival pubs, like Congressional Quarterly, which our sister blog FishbowlDC announced Friday. Acquisition is certainly one way to grow, especially if you can acquire successful publications or eliminate competition.
But perhaps the secret of the Economist Group’s success is just as The Atlantic‘s Michael Hirschorn described: knowing what you do best and making sure you do it better than everyone else.
“Knowing what and who you are, and conveying that idea to an audience, is the only way to break through to readers ADD’ed out on an infinitude of choices,” he said. “General-interest is out; niche is in. The irony, as restaurateurs and club-owners and sneaker companies and Facebook and Martha Stewart know — and as The Economist demonstrates, week in and week out — is that niche is sometimes the smartest way to take over the world.”