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Here's Why Google's Chairman Just Joined The Board Of "The Economist"

Leading the world's biggest digital business isn't enough for some.

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Google's executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has joined Economist Group's board as a non-executive director.

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Schmidt will spend three years on the board, governing a company that includes The Economist magazine (they like to call themselves a newspaper, but hey) and other high-brow media businesses such as the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Over the years, Schmidt has served as a director of various institutions and companies, including Apple.

So what makes the top person at a revolutionary technology company want to get his hands dirty with a London-based current affairs magazine?

1. The Economist does a very good job reaching senior business people and engaging them with serious, weighty analysis. Many of their readers earn shed loads of cash.

2. Despite big problems in other parts of the magazine sector, The Economist is doing well.


On average The Economist sells 1.5 million copies a week across all media. Here's how the print sale has held up:

3. It's a genuinely global brand with significant audiences in established and fast-moving emerging markets.

This chart shows average circulation across five countries - that Indian figure will be particularly important to the company.

This chart shows average circulation across five countries - that Indian figure will be particularly important to the company.

4. The Economist has protected its brand by consistently investing in marketing.

You may have seen these excellent adverts on the London Underground which make the case for an argument...

And against it.

5. Its iPad app is acclaimed and popular - there's even an audio edition, which one subscriber in Germany listens to while swimming.

6. It makes money.

Away from the doom and gloomness of the print-based media world, The Economist (part-owned by Pearson, the owner of The Financial Times) can say it's doing well.

Its operating profit of £68m in the year to March 31 was a record and it now makes 60% of its money from selling content, up from 44% five years ago - as opposed to selling advertising, which is increasingly difficult these days (thanks, in part to Google).

7. Despite the changing market, The Economist hasn't evolved that much from when it was first published in 1843. It's an unchanging observer on a complicated world.

Ok, maybe there's less text on the front page these days.

So if you were a jet-setting international media/technology executive looking to be involved in an influential, business-focused title with a global audience, The Economist is the one you'd choose.