Economist suffers ad revenue decline as ‘virus’ catches up with it

The Economist

The Economist has suffered an 11% fall in profits as a result of declining ad revenues, something the publication until recently said it had “seemed immune” to.

However, to capitalise on uptick in subscribers, it has increased its marketing budget over the “next few years” in the hopes of stemming further losses.

In its annual report, it revealed that less than 20% sales came from advertising, compared with 23% in 2015 and 40% in 2010.

It said that despite largely avoiding the massive downturn other news companies have suffered, “the ­virus eventually caught up with us, and how”.

Chairman Rupert Pennant-Rea described the last year as “painful”.

The magazine raised subscription prices by 20%, which chief executive Chris Stibbs said was “expertly handled” and resulted in “little impact on total volume or new starts” as

Subscribers, it said, were up and magazine sales were the largest contributor to profits for the first time. Circulation revenue also ­increased 21% compared to the previous year.

As a result, marketing budget over the “next few years” will be increased.

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