The Economist today announced a repositioning of its lifestyle publication 1843, reducing its print circulation and making content available in its The Economist Classic app.
The brand, launched initially in April 2016, is rolling out a redesign of the magazine and logo, and a rethinking of the content, as well as transitioning to a multi-platform posture. If The Economist is about business, politics and the global economy, and how those things intersect, then 1843 gives readers journalism and great photography about the worlds of design, style, food, and travel, while retaining the parent magazine’s wit, rigor and irreverence, the brands content and business leaders say. The rethought magazine kicks off with an April/May issue and a tagline, “Stories of an extraordinary world.”
1843 refers to the year The Economist was founded. An 1843 predecessor title, Intelligent Life, was first published as a quarterly in 2007.
“1843 takes a sideways look at the enduring stories of our age, and seasons them with a dash of humor or irreverence,” says editor in chief Rosie Blau. “Our perspective is provocative, rigorous, independent and entertaining. 1843 tells the stories of the individuals and forces that shape our lives. Our aim is to make you see the world in a new way.”
In the repositioning, says Publisher Mark Beard, digital moves to the heart of the brand. It’s fundamentally a transformation from predominately print to a multiplatform brand that readers can engage with in print, in app, on the web—plus film, podcasts and events. “We know that our readers have a thirst for knowledge and inspiration,” Beard says. “When they press pause on their busy lives, they want to immerse themselves in great stories. These can be enjoyed by even more readers now that we will include all editions of 1843 in The Economist’s classic app.”
The brand’s total circulation is 360,000, Beard says. In the past, it was almost 100% print, but starting with the relaunch issue, 1843 content moves to the app. About 130,000, or 35% of the circulation, will immediately become digital. Moving forward, 1843 content will also be integrated into the Economist.com, increasing the number of eyeballs who will view the content and also increasing the advertising.
“We take a “stories first” approach and then think about how to tell them, be it in print, online, in podcast or on film, and sometimes all of them,” Blau says. “We persist with print because we’ve found a lot of people have a real connection to a print product, and because we’re producing a really beautiful object. If you look at the magazine market now you can see that there’s been a real upsurge in beautifully produced titles—you could say they’re the coffee table books of our day.”
The plan behind today’s relaunch is for 1843 to expand The Economist’s universe. “We’re for a different moment in your day,” Blau says. “The subject is different and complementary—and the approach is different too. The Economist explains, whereas 1843 tells stories.”
Publisher Beard says 1843’s content and environment will attract a range of advertisers who may not otherwise invest with the Economist Group. And similarly, “1843 is not only enjoyed by existing subscribers to The Economist, but also serves as an entry-point to the group’s content, attracting readers some of whom will then not only subscribe to 1843 but also The Economist,” Beard says.