Economist Taking Intelligent Life To U.S. On iPad Only

In a sign that online distribution to tablets can take printed publications in to territories that were previously unreachable, The Economist is overcoming a distribution bottleneck by taking its Intelligent Life quarterly to the U.S. on iPad only.

Though the publication is sold on newsstands throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in North America it’s only available via subscription.

So The Economist, half-owned by the Financial Times, is releasing on iPad only.

Compared with the $60 annual print subscription, the autumn issue is free on iPad, sponsored by Credit Suisse, which has taken all the advertising inside.

Publishers are keen to imagine the new wave of coincidentally magazine-sized tablet computers as analogous to their printed magazines.

Coupled with digital distribution, they appear to see an opportunity both to move neatly from print to digital neatly and to take advantage of the enhanced distribution scale that digital affords.

News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) is using the opportunity to devise a new, nationwide mass-market news title for the U.S. on iPad only, along the lines of its New York Post and The Sun but overcoming the distribution limitations of print to go large.