The Economist has hired Havas Digital for U.S. circulation acquisition in print, digital and on iPad after a review.
While publishers have long hired clearinghouses to move print subscriptions, this move suggests renewed efforts to make digital a bigger contributor to subscription revenue. Publishers have also had increasing success finding print subscribers through the sorts of digital channels where Havas Digital has expertise.
It remains to be seen whether The Economist is moving toward accepting Apple's terms for iPad subscriptions. When Apple introduced its iPad subscriptions system in February, many publishers balked, considering hurdles to gathering subscriber data and Apple scooping 30% of revenue. Popular Science was one publication to test the new system and has so far sold more than 10,000 iPad subscriptions
So far The Economist is not selling subscriptions through Apple's App Store under the plan Apple announced in February. Havas Digital declined comment on the matter. The Economist wasn't able to comment immediately on deadline.
Publishers, including The New York Times, have recently been testing digital subscriptions in attempts to cull new revenue streams. Right now, The Economist charges $110 for its digital subscription, which includes access to all online, mobile and iPad content. An annual print-plus-digital subscription goes for $127.
The Havas team includes digital-media unit Media Contacts, creative agency Archibald Ingall Stretton and social media agency Cake. The assignment does not affect BBDO, The Economist's agency for brand advertising in both Europe and the U.S.