The Economist has been a remarkable story in its own right, emerging in the past few years as a dominant news source for American readers. Clearly, they’ve been doing some things right, so it’s worth watching to see where they’re going next.
That’s why it’s significant that they just put Oscar Grut, who heads up their tablet editions, in charge of the website and all other digital products.
This doesn’t come out of the blue. In November, Economist chief executive Andrew Rashbass told The Guardian (another British medium that’s getting it right) that the magazine already had more than 100,000 digital subscribers — most of them through its iPad app. Even then, the Economist’s numbers showed that 28 percent of its readers already owned a tablet and another 23 percent expected to own one in the next year.
This is even more stunning in the context, coming before the Christmas rush in which Pew’s numbers showed tablet ownership almost doubling.