The Economist expands native ad offering as FT airs concerns over reader confusion

The EconomistThe Economist is making a bigger play in native advertising and branded content as the famous newspaper looks to increase advertising revenue from print and digital.

The business and politics weekly plans to increase its teams selling native advertising, which was the talk of the World Association of Newspapers conference in Hong Kong last week.

It is also rolling out a new, simplified menu of options for sponsor platforms “based on what we know works for clients”, according to Audra Martin, VP of digital and content strategy.

“We are continuing to expand the promotion capabilities we offer, including native, social, and audience extension as long as we feel it helps our clients amplify their content and serves our audience,” said Martin, who is based in London where the newspaper is headquartered.

It is not yet clear how the increased focus on native advertising will impact The Economist’s teams in Asia.

The Economist’s native ad content is branded with a client’s name and logo, usually with the additional label of “Sponsor” or “Advertisement feature”, Martin explained.

It is produced by a separate team to the main editorial teams for The Economist and its research arm, The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Pricing depends on the volume of content, whether it will run regionally or globally, the media used (print, online, app, microsite or events) and if the content is produced by The Economist, Martin added.

The news emerges the week after Angela Mackay, Asia MD of The Financial Times – which owns 50 per cent of The Economist – said at the WAN-IFRA conference that the FT would not be making a major play in native advertising.

“We are concerned about confusing our readers, and we don’t think native advertising will work for us,” Mackay said, pointing out that there is a “thick black line” between sponsored copy and editorial in the FT.

One of The Economist’s most high-profile native advertising clients is General Electric, which presented a case study on its campaign at the Festival of Media Asia in March.

For the first time last year, The Economist did not put up prices for advertising because of a slip in print circulation. In an interview with Mumbrella, Asia MD Tim Pinnegar said: “Even though there has been media inflation in markets like China and India, we frankly couldn’t put our rates up because the circulation hasn’t grown.”

A full-page ad in the The Economist can cost around $130,000, but varies by format and by region.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing