Economist Films

The popular publication, The Economist asked Phil to build the website for their exciting new venture – Economist Films and after that success they asked him to build their Amazon Fire TV app too.

The project is fairly straightforward, after all it is a list of video thumbnails, with accompanying descriptions that link to play-in-place videos. Phil Thompson took this simple set-up and made sure performance and ease of updated where the main concerns for this seemingly simple website.


An early decision was made to not preload videos. The videos were to be hosted by YouTube, but with upto 10 videos on the homepage it would be crazy not to load this only when requested by the user.

Images were created with the picture element in HTML5 to ensure mobile/tablet users were downloading images that were suitable for their screensizes.

Updating ease

The website runs off a simple JSON file which lists the films metadata and some simple PHP grabs that data and displays it (this way we’re not reliant on JavaScript for the basic content to show).

When a new film comes out, someone in-house merely has to update a simple JSON and the site is automatically updated. This is great for a site that when a new season is launched, updates every 2 weeks.


  • Work started and completed: Autumn 2015
  • Project duration: 124 hours (and 51.5 hours for the Amazon Fire TV app)
  • Website URL:


The Economist

My role in the project: