The Economist Records 15% Ad Growth
Another record operating profit despite tough economic conditions
- Operating profit up 10% to £63m
- Revenue up 9% to £347m
- Full-year dividend of 112.6p per share, an increase of 10% (including the special dividend paid in December, total dividend for the year is 152.3p, up 14%)
An advertising recovery at The Economist and investment in our brands have helped the Group achieve these good results
- The Economist’s worldwide print circulation grew by 4% to 1,473,939 (July-December 2010 ABC). There was an overall increase in advertising of 15%, including 23% growth in digital advertising.
- The Group is investing in digital editions, and The Economist is now available on multiple platforms. Since launching in November, its iPad and iPhone apps have been downloaded around 2m times.
- Traffic to The Economist online continues to rise with latest data showing visits up 39%. This has been supported by a redesigned home-page and the introduction of new content and features. With 1m Twitter followers and more than 700,000 Facebook fans, the site has demonstrated its potential to widen its audience and stimulate valuable discussion and debate.
- At the Economist Intelligence Unit there has been investment in marketing, technology, editorial and sales. Revenue has increased by 6% on last year, as the business continues its push to better meet the needs of its clients. Highlights included the re-launch of a significantly enhanced EIU.com, and the launch of Access China, a service providing analysis and forecasts for 287 Chinese cities.
- Each of the Group’s regional businesses contributed to a strong overall performance.
- In North America, three new Economist-branded businesses were launched during the year: the Ideas People Channel, an online advertising network which now combines 45 websites from different organisations; Economist Education, offering e-learning courses targeted initially at executives in the United States; and an online fairs business to connect buyers and sellers at virtual events. In Washington our subscription-based CQ and Capitol Advantage content and workflow businesses performed well but advocacy advertising in general, and Roll Call’s margins in particular, were affected by tough competition and a slow legislative agenda.
- Asia’s rapid economic recovery was reflected in excellent results for the Group; revenues in the region grew 32% year on year. Circulation of The Economist in Asia Pacific exceeded 143,000 copies, up 6.1% on the previous year; in India circulation has doubled since the Group embarked on its growth strategy there three years ago.
- In Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), profits improved despite significant natural, economic and political events. In particular EuroFinance, its cash and treasury management event business, performed strongly, with revenues up 22%, and the Group’s lifestyle magazine, Intelligent Life, saw advertising grow by 53% in the region and paid circulation rise by 11%.
- In the UK, circulation of The Economist grew by 11% to 210,204. This was driven by a boost in subscriptions generated by a new poster advertising campaign asking “Where do you stand?” Print advertising at The Economist increased 12%, and online advertising by 25%.
After 13 years of valued service, the longest-serving of the Group’s current directors, Dennis Stevenson, retires from the Board in July.
Andrew Rashbass, chief executive of The Economist Group, said: “These results continue to reflect the strength and integrity of our brands and the commitment and skill of the great people who work for the Group.”
The Group’s finance director, Chris Stibbs, added: “The results show further good growth in earnings and cash flow in a year where the Group continued to increase its investments in key strategic initiatives. Our financial robustness provides a solid platform for successfully navigating the economic and other challenges faced by our industry.”