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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

The Economist is a weekly publication based in London that covers global news and issues.

The Economist refers to itself as a newspaper, but it holds more in common stylistically with magazines, particularly newsweeklies like Time and Newsweek.

The magazine was founded in 1843 and is the flagship publication of the Economist Group, which also publishes the U.S. congressional publications Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call. The British media conglomerate Pearson PLC, which owns the Financial Times, owns half of the Economist Group, and the other half is owned by a variety of investors.

The Economist had 1.6 million subscribers in 2012, about 900,000 of which are in the United States. As of 2009, it was the only newsweekly with a rising circulation in the United States.

Its global circulation is also increasing, and the Economist Group became more profitable in 2009, though its advertising revenue fell and it cut about 130 positions that year.

The Economist has a relatively high subscription price and is aimed at a wealthy, cosmopolitan audience. It is highly regarded for its extensive international coverage and analysis, a model that has been emulated by several American magazines.

Its editorial stances are generally fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Its writing has also been praised for its straightforward style, though it has also been criticized as simplistic and smug.

The Economist emphasizes its institutional voice over individual brands, publishing its articles without bylines.

Compared with other newsweeklies and global news outlets, the Economist has placed little emphasis on its website, and its web traffic ranks well behind that of the competing U.S. newsweeklies Time. In recent years, however, the magazine has placed a new emphasis on using social media and analytics to engage audiences and bring them to its site. The site has also used political bloggers to build buzz for its stories.

The site includes a combination of free and paid content, with the archives behind a paywall. It offers multi-platform online subscriptions, and anline subscribers can also browse an online version of the publication’s print edition. The Economist has tried other forms of paid content, including on-demand print delivery, special reports, books, and e-books, and research for hire. For more than a decade, the Economist has provided its subscribers with an online audio version of its print edition.

The magazine launched an edition for Android tablets in August 2011. It also has an app for Apple devices, which it had to re-issue in October 2011 in order to comply with Apple’s rules for app subscriptions. As of late 2011, it had 100,000 digital subscribers in total. In 2012, it reported 560,000 app downloads, with about 255,000 in the U.S.

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Sept. 29, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
The Times of London is shuttering its international paid weekly app — The Times of London on Thursday said it was shutting down its Times Weekly app, a subscription app that the British paper launched in January to reach to an international audience. The app, which cost $3.99 a month, was ...
May 27, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
A Swiss publisher is trying to attract a paying audience with an app sampling stories across publications — ZURICH — The Swiss media group Tamedia publishes more than 20 different titles — from daily broadsheet newspapers to a women’s magazine that comes out every three weeks. Though these publications have widely di...
March 30, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
The U.K.’s Times and Sunday Times are structuring their new apps and website around peak traffic times — The Times of London and Sunday Times on Wednesday launched new phone and tablet apps, and a new website, all focused on publishing online in editions that will be updated four times a day. There will be a fresh issue ear...
Feb. 4, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
Sports Illustrated’s new app has video “baked into every channel” — Sports Illustrated is releasing a new app Thursday that emphasizes video and prioritizes SI’s stable of well-known writers over scores and other real-time information. After users open a video in the SI app, they c...
April 1, 2015 / Joseph Lichterman
The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising — LONDON — The past few months have been full of change at The Economist. In January, Zanny Minton Beddoes was appointed the magazine’s new editor after her predecessor, John Micklethwait, left for Bloomberg. In No...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: October 2, 2013.
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