paidContent - The Economist Tests Phone-Based Print Delivery Service

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
Mobile content, sorta: Add this to the list of paid content scenarios currently being tested by news publishers ... The Economist has rolled out a cellphone-based delivery service in New York, per AdAge.

Each Thursday, the financial publication will send out a text detailing the topics for the coming week’s issue, complete with a link to a special landing page; people that order by 9 p.m get guaranteed delivery by 6 a.m the next morning—before the issue even hits newsstands. There’s no extra charge for the on-demand delivery.

The Economist first tested the phone-based delivery option in the U.K. two months ago; North American Publisher Paul Rossi tells AdAge that reception has been moderate, with “hundreds not thousands” of buyers via text per week. Still, it’s proof that people are willing to try new payment models, particularly if they’re convenient.

And The Economist isn’t expecting the mobile option to cannibalize newsstand sales—instead, it’s meant to entice a whole new crop of readers that may not otherwise pick up a copy. The publication also nets about the same amount of profit from the hand-delivered copies, because it doesn’t have to split the sales with retailers or wholesalers.


By Tameka Kee