Special Report: No. 7

By Published on .

The Economist tackles all the big business stories with a healthy dose of skepticism. And during the Internet craze, it was precisely this skepticism—and a lesson learned long ago—that helped it survive the ups and downs of the dot-com roller coaster.

In the mid-1800s, the railroad boom led the publication to change its name to the all-inclusive: The Economist, Weekly Commercial Times, Bankers' Gazette, and Railway Monitor. A Political, Literary and General Newspaper. So you can understand why a couple of years ago, The Economist was more than a little skittish about jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon.

The Economist
Phone:(212) 541-0500
Circulation:342,000 (North America)
Ad revenues:$63.3 million
Ad cost:$29,150 1-page 4/C
That's why the magazine isn't hurting as much ad-wise as other business publications that bet heavily on dot-com customers. Ad pages through the first quarter were down just 5% to 783, from 828 during the same period last year, while first-quarter ad revenue was up 5% to $18.2 million, from $17.3 million, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

The publication continues to attract some of b-to-b's heavy hitters with its stable image, global focus and serious business audience. Accenture, Andersen, Cisco Systems Inc., Ernst & Young L.L.P., Novell Inc. and Oracle Corp. are among The Economist's advertising stalwarts.

"We don't have readers. We have addicts," said Olly Comyn, VP-advertising director for the Americas. "We give advertisers someone who is not rushing to work, but a very serious guy who flies high above the trees and is a strategist, someone who knows the price of the yen as well as the latest in fuel cell technology. We capture the C-level executive in a relaxed manner." Indeed, 90% of The Economist's audience reads the publication at home and spends nearly two hours a week with it, according to Comyn.

Circulation now is at 342,000 for the title's North American edition—up 6% from last year—and will get a boost to 366,000 by the end of 2001. (Global circulation is 762,000.) The publication has been in the top 10 of the respected Capell's Circulation Report for eight years running.

Brad Adgate, senior VP and director of research at Horizon Media Inc., a New York media research firm, said the magazine hits all the business bases. "Any business executive can pick it up and know what's going on in certain product lines," he said. "It's very useful for companies that want to deal with each other."

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