Media insight

This week, MediaTel’s Derek Jones turns the spotlight on The Economist

The Economist has just made a series of management changes as publisher David Hanger leaves after 30 years' service.

He will be a hard act to follow.

He leaves the title at a significant point, as worldwide circulation has just steamed past the one-million mark and cleared 150,000 a week in the UK.

Worldwide circulation is up nearly 50% since January 2000, 18% in the past six months alone.

Over the past four years, sales of the UK edition are up 19.5%, continental Europe is up 23% and the Asia Pacific region is now selling over 30% more copies than it was at the end of 2000.

Early indications for 2005 are of further sales growth still.

Contrast this with another famous business title.

Pearson, part-owner of The Economist, is having far less success with its flagship title, Financial Times, to the extent that the vultures are starting to circle.

The FT was said to be aiming to mimic The Economist's global growth strategy, but after passing the 500,000 copies mark (worldwide) in March 2002, the paper has seen sales slip back significantly.

The six-monthly figure released last week is 428,139.

Fully-paid sales, which accounted for 31% of all copies in January-June 2001, now make up just 22.9% (six months to March 2005) – well below the percentage for any of the other UK quality dailies.

Bring back Hanger!

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