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The Economist waits on Google AMP

News, 07 March 2016

LONDON: The Economist, the current affairs magazine, is prioritising its own digital platforms over Google's recently launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), although it believes AMP will be crucial in future.

Jora Gill, chief digital officer at The Economist, confirmed to The Drum that getting on AMP and Facebook Instant Articles will happen, probably within a few months, but that "our priority is to hedge because we are not sure where the market is going".

The Economist instead is preparing to launch a new website this summer and is developing a new app based on feedback from customers.

"We have a group of customers and people who are interested in The Economist and we are trying to see if we can break new markets and new ground with an app that takes the element of what we have – which is great content, combined with how people consumer content," Gill said.

The Economist is also seeking feedback about its new website and intends to make it more responsive and better-optimised for smartphones.

"At the moment we are working with Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP, but at the same time we find that people do like to come to The Economist so we are still investing in our website," he explained.

Content from The Economist should be on Instant Articles and Google AMP over the next couple of months, but the newspaper is also considering Snapchat because of its large number of followers.

Referring to Google AMP's promise of a faster and richer experience on mobile, Gill expressed cautious optimism that it would drive traffic and advertising revenue.

"The speed and smartphone optimisation it can offer means people will read it on the go and sometimes sites are too slow so you have to rely on apps," he said. "In this case you no longer will have to do that – that's the promise anyway."

The Economist's strategy of extending its reach and gaining new readers through the use of social channels combined with its own platforms was also the topic of a recent Warc webinar.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff