'Economist' Replaces Local Newsstand With Cellphone

Advertising Age
The Economist is introducing a trial program today that lets New Yorkers use their cellphones to order overnight home delivery of the new issue of the magazine at the regular newsstand price. This is how it works: New Yorkers who have signed up for weekly texts announcing each issue's topics will also receive a URL for a web page they can visit to order the issue. Those who order by 9 p.m. are guaranteed a hand-delivered copy by 6 a.m. the next morning -- in time to beat the commute.

In England, where The Economist first tried the approach two months ago, people who have preregistered can just reply to the text messages to get their overnight copies. The Economist hopes to have that simpler system in place by the time it widens the New York trial to cover the entire U.S. Overnighted copies of the magazine cost $6.99, the same price as the newsstand copies. The Economist says the resulting circulation revenue is just as profitable because the delivered copies don't require giving cuts to retailers or wholesalers. Circulation generated through the cellphone program is likely to remain very small, however. In England, the number of buyers via text has numbered hundreds a week. - Read the whole story...

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