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The Economist launches daily agenda-setting news brief The Economist Espresso

The Economist EspressoBusiness and current affairs title The Economist has launched its first daily edition its 171-year history with new apps and an email newsletter, with editor-in-chief John Micklethwait describing it as a wrap of what consumers need to think about each day.

Published each weekday morning in three editions for the Americas, Europe and Asia, The Economist Espresso is designed to bring readers up to speed in just a couple of minutes on the go.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Micklethwait said the daily edition has a “different form of thinking behind it” compared to similar news products.

“It’s less a daily news wrap than a this is what you need to think about today. There’s a secondary bit that’s a news wrap with what’s happened overnight,” he said.

“A lot of the people who want to read The Economist and people who want to read the weekly package are people we’ve noticed are using phones and digital technology  ever more. We particularly looked at the slot in the morning, the going to work slot, where we thought our readers would see this as a complementary thing to the weekly package,” Micklethwait explained.

Micklethwait said The Economist Espresso differs from other daily news apps due to it being “deliberately designed to be finishable”.

“Our aim is it takes a few minutes to read. People who read the economist tend to not have much time but are desperate or thirsty for ideas. That’s what we deal with on the weekends with the weekly edition, and so we’re trying to do the same in a brief way with the daily edition and its written by exactly people who do the weekly edition,” he said.

The Economist Espresso“I’m pretty sure I know who the pyschographic will be – it will be people who are grossly busy but who desperately want ideas they can talk about that day,” he added.

Micklethwait said the new offering was designed to drive subscribers to the print title, as well as offering readers a different way to access The Economist.

“What we’ll do is it will be free for the first month so people can try it and after that it will be free to subscribers, and if you’re not a subscriber you’ll have to pay $US3.99 a month to get it. The idea behind that is two-fold; we do think if you’re a subscriber to the economist this is another reason to be a subscriber and secondly it can be an alternative productive, there might be some people who want it by themselves,” he said.

The Economist EspressoAvailable via an iPhone or an Android smartphone, the content comes free with existing subscription to The Economist. Readers also have the choice of accessing one article a day free, or to subscribe to the app for $4.99 a month.

The launch of the app has seen The Economist add extra members in Singapore and Washington, with the editorial team producing the weekly content working on the daily app.

“The only difference on this one is we have a centralised team of four editors who bring stuff in and we’ve also added people in Singapore and Washington to help do this,” he said.

“We’ve added a couple of people net over all, but we’ve reallocated people generally.”

When asked if the daily app could undermine The Economist’s print addition, Micklethwait was fairly confident it would not.

“People who’ve tried it have found it vaguely complementary to the extent that they get these short, sharp shocks of caffeine during the week and then they get a slightly longer look at some of the same issues on the weekend.

“If it would cannibalise it, it’s probably better that we cannibalise ourselves than anyone else does,” he added.

The app is sponsored in some regions, with the Asian region’s edition sponsored by Credit Suisse.

“It is sponsored in some regions. When it loads it will say ‘Today Espresso is brought to you by x’. And then is that there’s the chance to advertise, we have advertising slots between a couple of the items,” explained Micklethwait.

Miranda Ward

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