The Economist has just launched a a full audio edition of the weekly mag. Clearly a lot of resource is going into this. On first inspection, the entire content of the print mag is being repurposed for audio - seems to involve an army of voice actors reading out, word for word, every article.
However, there are a number of issues here. First, you have to go to a specific web page to download (no iTunes podcast integration). You can choose to download the whole mag (100MB - blimey) - or you can download individual sections. But each story is saved as an individual MP3 file - and unless you have some idea in advance (ie by reading the mag first), you don't really have a clue about the content of each story (Retailing, for example, covers a rather wide range of possibilities).
Also, the reading of a single one page story lasts about 6.5 minutes - I'm sure the time-pressed senior execs who make up the magazine's readership could read the printed version a lot quicker. And given that much of the material is focussed on figures, audio doesn't seem the best medium to convey this - how do you create an audio version of a trends graphs, for example.
To listen to the content for the entire mag would come in at around 4.5 hours - I hardly think anyone, let alone a FTSE 100 CEO, has the time to spend listening to the Economist - especially when you can get the info you require much more quickly by simply reading the magazine.
Would have thought they might reconsider a re-think of their appoach - surely a 10 - 15 minute bespoke digest of the week's main stories would be far more useful (and cost effective) solution.
PS The feedback survey is also quite frustrating - where you can provide additional comments, you are restricted to about 8 words - only right at the end can you provide in substantive feedback - I wonder how may people will bother to persevere to the end?