A new Europe-wide survey has shown that the appetite for international print titles is growing among the "affluent elite", with The Economist leading the charge.
The Ipsos-Mori survey of media consumption among Europe's most affluent readers showed The Economist has attracted 50 per cent more readers over the last two years, and 21 per cent since the last survey was carried out in 2005.
The survey claims to analyse the reading habits of the top earning 4 per cent of the European population.
When asked to rate the publications they read, The Economist was considered the most important international title for "keeping you informed of world news and events". Of the international publications, it is the most important read "overall", favoured by 23 per cent of the survey. The Financial Times came second with 21 per cent and Time was third with 12 per cent.
Alan Dunachie, director of operations at The Economist, said of the title's success: "One of the reason for its success is that The Economist does, uniquely in the magazines world, help people understand really complex issues. The way it is written makes you think in a different way than, say, a daily newspaper does.
"It's like having a discussion with a really clever, intelligent friend."
Dunachie said a number of influences had coincided to create a buoyant market for international titles.
A new generation of English speakers across Europe, particularly in their 20s, can now access international media.
Globalisation has meant that successful businesses tend to work internationally, which Dunachie claimed meant "a need for international media to provide insight and understanding of these markets". The current wave of global political issues also fuelled the appetite for media offering a worldwide analysis.
He added: "We strongly believe that the market for international media has a long way to go. We have just passed the 600,000 mark for the first time in the US.
"What people sometimes don't realise is that our circulation in the UK is only 16 per cent of our total circulation. The real key to growth is that we have a great title in tune with its time."
The Economist's circulation is 1,138,118 worldwide (ABC Jan-June 2006).