Editors note: We are republishing an article by WNIP that looks into growth of digital media. This piece was originally published on What’s New in Publishing.

The Economist Group published its results for the year to March 31st 2022, reporting strong financial results above expectations. The financial year 2021/22 ended with operating profit of £46.4m (+11% year-on-year) on revenue of £346.3m (+12% year-on-year).

Alongside this impressive revenue performance, the Group also enjoyed its highest profit since 2016 for its continuing business. 

The business’s digital services across all of its brands made up 55% of revenue, growing to more than 60% when including digital consumption from subscribers to The Economist who take a print and digital bundled product. During the year, 66% of new subscribers to the newspaper chose digital-only offerings.

Subscriber numbers at The Economist were robust as the newspaper overcame a slow news cycle at the start of the financial year – taking total subscribers to 1,185,000, in line with last year. Notably, The Economist’s revenue grew 5% at constant currency and first-year subscriber retention grew markedly.

These strong results reflect the progress we have made in transforming our business while staying true to our values. All of The Economist Group businesses have made significant progress over the past year and enjoy a powerful platform for future growth.

Lara Boro, Chief executive of The Economist Group

Economist Impact, the partnerships and events business unit, accounted for the largest revenue increase among the Group’s four core brands, seeing year-on-year revenue growth of 39%. 

Further highlights from the Group’s annual report 2022 include:

  • The Economist Group completed its simplification of its brand framework and now goes to market with four customer-facing businesses – The Economist, Economist Impact, Economist Intelligence and Economist Education
  • Economist Intelligence increased revenues to £45.5m on the back of a 33% increase in revenues in Clearstate, its medtech consulting division, and a 95% retention rate among Economist Intelligence Unit subscriptions

A core focus of our strategy has been improving our digital customer experience and the success of this strategy is demonstrated by the fact that 55% of the Group’s revenue is now digital. Moving forward we plan to continue to invest in our digital products, and in the teams that create and deliver them.

Lara Boro, Chief executive of The Economist Group
  • In its first full year of existence Economist Education, an executive education business, launched three online courses with a fourth planned in the coming months. Over the coming years the brand plans to expand the number of courses while looking beyond the consumer market to sell directly to companies seeking to develop the skills and knowledge of their key talent
  • Economist Impact hosted 222 events over the year, gathering more than 78,000 attendees in person and online. This included the award-winning Sustainability Week events which saw presentations from global leaders such as António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, and Alok Sharma, president of COP26
  • The Economist Group is on track to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25% by 2025. The Group has reaffirmed its commitment to achieve net zero by 2045 and has made its first disclosure in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The Group continues to weave sustainability into the fabric of its growth strategy and operations, and is developing an environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy based on five key priorities—content, colleagues, communities, climate and environment, and governance

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation at its highest rate for a generation and the growing prospect of a recession are just three reasons why the stakes for The Economist’s journalism could not be higher.

We have grown our digital ecosystem and increased our cadence to bring timely, mind-stretching analysis to subscribers, helping them to make sense of the world at the times and in the formats they want.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-chief at The Economist

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash