The Economist Group 2021 Annual Report

the economist group 2021 annual report

Media company's focus on customers leads to strong business results, with a year of transformation and growth at The Economist Group.

The Economist Group releases its 2021 Annual Report, showing strong business results in fiscal year 2020/21. The Group's renewed focus on its readers and clients continues to drive change in the organisation and lies at the heart of its multi-year investment programme for sustainable growth.

The year ended with an operating profit of £41.8m, up £8.9m or 27% on last year, exceeding expectations and putting The Economist Group in a strong position to pursue long-term profitable growth. The Economist saw record subscriber growth, which climbed by 90,0000 or 9% over fiscal-year 2020 to 1,122,000, the largest-ever increase in a single year. It also boosted trial conversions and one-year retention rates. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) saw a notable 44% uplift in new business. Economist Events quickly pivoted to virtual platforms, holding a record 171 events, with 70,000 attendees and more than 300 sponsors.

The positive results reflect significant strides The Economist Group took last year towards transforming the business to meet customer needs and unlock future opportunities:

A suite of new products enriched the offering for consumer audiences. A new podcast, The Jab, analysed the global vaccine roll-out; digital newsletters, such as Simply Science and Off the Charts, expanded The Economist's footprint in areas of reader interest; interactive data journalism covered many unreported aspects of the pandemic and highly engaging forecasts of the US election; a subscriber-only content programme included a webinar series with editors and world leaders such as Bill Gates, Ursula Burns and Christine Lagarde to discuss critical global issues. A redesign of the homepage and upgrades to the Espresso app both enhanced the user experience.

Significant investment in digital technology included a new Future Customer Experience platform designed to transform and improve the subscriber experience, and increase engagement and retention.

The EIU launched "EIU Viewpoint", a digital product combining the EIU's expert political and economic insights with economic forecasts and proprietary data. The new B2B subscription platform helps businesses, academics, governments and financial institutions stay abreast of shifting global dynamics and plan for the future.

Economist Education, a new online executive-education offering, launched the first of a series of courses, written and delivered by journalists from The Economist and designed to equip business leaders with the insights and skills they need to steer their organisation.

"In this turbulent year our aim to provide trusted insight to our global audiences was never more important. Our results are a testament to our colleagues' resilience, agility and innovation. As we look to a future beyond the pandemic we have a clear opportunity: to build on the excellence of our content and the strength of our brands in the pursuit of progress for individuals, organisations and the world," said Lara Boro, Chief Executive, The Economist Group.

"The commitment to faster product and tech investment as well as intensive collaboration between the editorial and business sides of the Group will ensure a continued rapid improvement in our digital capabilities and mean that our subscribers can consume our journalism in a form and at a cadence that suits them for years to come," said Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist.

The foundation laid in the 2020/21 fiscal year prepares the business for further evolution in the coming months led by the Group's mission—to champion progress by helping people understand and tackle the critical challenges facing the world. Sustainability, health care and new trends in globalisation will be among the Group's core areas of focus.

The Annual Report also highlights the Group's own sustainability strategy, which weaves sustainability into the fabric of its operations. In addition to The Economist's cutting-edge climate coverage and the impact delivered to clients and partners through initiatives such as Back to Blue, The Economist Group announced its commitment to cutting its carbon emissions by at least 25% by 2025.

The Economist - With a growing global audience and a reputation for insightful analysis and perspective on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current-affairs publications in the world. In addition to the weekly print and digital editions and website, The Economist publishes Espresso, a daily news app, and Global Business Review, a bilingual English-Chinese product. It produces The Intelligence, a daily current-affairs podcast, several other weekly podcasts and short- and long-form video. The Economist maintains robust social communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks.

About The Economist Group. The Economist Group is built on high-quality, in depth global analysis which runs through all of its businesses. With 25 offices in 14 countries and serving a global readership and client base, the Group produces digital and print products, convenes global events, and offers a range of subscription and other services for clients and consumers. Its flagship businesses include The Economist, and research and analysis division, The Economist Intelligence Unit.