The Economist is launching a new subscription tier exclusively for audiences interested in podcasts.
Starting in mid-October, audiences can sign up for Economist Podcasts+ to just gain access to The Economist’s full slate of nine podcasts.
Economist Podcasts+ costs £4.90 a month or £49 a year. Though, all of the perks of the service are included in the standard digital (£19.90 a month or £199 a year) and print plus digital subscription (£26.50 a month or £265 a year) tiers.
"We believe that many subscribers to Economist Podcasts+ will eventually upgrade to a full Economist subscription," says Bob Cohn, president of The Economist in an email to Journalism.co.uk.
"We designed the two tiers to be distinct, allowing customers to choose the amount and format of content that best suits their needs."
Two data points give Cohn confidence that people are willing to pay for its audio journalism: the 1.2m print and digital subscribers of The Economist and the 5m unique listeners who tune into its podcasts.
While other publications in this space are consolidating their podcast feeds, The Economist shows no signs of following suit. It has a mixture of weekly podcasts and limited-run shows in its roster - and counting.
"We've been expanding our shows in response to listener interest," continues Cohn.
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"Audio has become our fastest-growing platform and has proven to be an important way to bring our journalism to new and diverse audiences.
"Over the last couple of years we have produced four new limited series podcasts (The Jab, The Prince, Next Year in Moscow and now Boss Class) and we aim to continue to invest in this area to provide engaging and interesting journalism in podcast format. Economist Podcast+ allows us to really focus our investment and resources in this area."
The weekday episodes of The Economist’s flagship programme, The Intelligence, will remain available to non-subscribers, as will sample episodes of weekly shows and limited series podcasts.
"We’re excited to be among the first publishers that we know of to introduce a podcast subscription. And we think it's important to be consistent with our commercial strategy across all platforms: we produce quality journalism, distribute it globally, and charge a fair price."
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