EUROPEAN NEWSPAPERS: EXTENDING THE BRAND

By PIPPA CONSIDINE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00AM

Europe's newspapers have branched out to attract new audiences and advertisers. Pippa Considine looks at three major brand extensions from Italy, the UK and France.

ITALY: Il Sole, 24 ore tv

Launch date: May 2001

Distribution: Satellite and two-and-a- half hours each day on 13 regional stations

Regular advertisers: BMW, Jaguar, Nokia

First there was the financial newspaper. Then, in the late 90s, Il Sole added a radio station and an internet site. Now there is 24 ore tv, which began broadcasting in 2001.

"It's the natural prosecution of a multimedia strategy," 24 ore tv's managing director, Matteo Cascinari, says. He describes the finance and business channel as "something in between CNBC and CNN, but far more focused on Italy".

It allows the Il Sole group, which sells all its media from one sales house, to offer a broader spread of media to current advertisers, rather than setting out to woo new clients. It is, however, finding a new audience with its presence on regional terrestrial TV each morning. Cascinari says that 80 per cent of the viewers don't read the newspaper. "Year by year, we have been addressing a wider audience. There is a high barrier to reading a financial newspaper and TV is a way to call them to our world." That doesn't mean that the TV channel is more lightweight. "The brand profile is about reliable information, credibility and authority," Cascinari adds.

Carat Italia is cautious about giving a verdict on the venture, mainly because of the tiny satellite audience available in Italy. The potential audience is in the region of 11,000, with a reach of just 0.15 per cent of the population. And Il Sole has been using the TV channel in negotiation for rates on the newspaper, by throwing in spots as part of a package.

At the moment, 24 ore tv isn't profitable, but the target is to break even in 2004. As yet, Il Sole's brand extensions are unrepeated across Italy's media.

- the up-market title with 400,000 readers has the wherewithal that other Italian papers with small circulations do not.

UK: The Observer Sport Monthly and Food Monthly

Launch date: Sport Monthly May 2000; Food Monthly April 2001

Frequency: Monthly

Regular advertisers: BMW, Alfa Romeo, Zurich Insurance, Tag Heuer, Alpen, Aga, Tio Pepe

As newspaper supplements go, The Observer's two monthly specials definitely have an admirable degree of thwack factor.

The sport version was out there first. According to the marketing director of Guardian Newspapers, Marc Sands, "it has cemented the newspaper's sports readership". And there is speculation that it, along with its foodie sister title, has been responsible for some of the notable increase in sales of The Observer since the appointment of Roger Alton as the editor in 1998.

At MediaCom, the press director, Claudine Collins, says: "I'd imagine that doing Sport Monthly and Food Monthly probably broadened the advertiser base, rather than clients moving ads from different sections. And cannibalising the business from the weekly magazine isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it frees up prime sites in the weekly."

Sands insists that taking ad spots from the main paper and its own magazine is not an issue: "One of the joys is that it's monthly. Advertisers have decided that once a month, Sport Monthly is a must-have title." Food Monthly appears to work in the same way. There are no big advertising surprises, but there are lifestyle ads and not just food-related products.

The title is designed not to be too specialist or geared towards women and many male readers apparently dip into its coverage of new chefs in top hotels, alongside Nigel Slater's top recipe for sausage and bean hotpot.

Collins reckons that brand extensions need to be new and exciting. "They work best if they are innovative and the subject matter is what readers are enthusiastic about," she says. She cites The Sun's website, page3.com, and Cosmo Girl as other strong examples.

Sands also believes brand extensions work best if they are editorially driven. "You can give away free holidays or CDs, but ultimately people buy newspapers for the editorial." There are no plans for T-shirts or pens then at The Observer, but Sands would like to launch two more magazines to cover the other weeks in the month.

FRANCE: Le Monde 2

Launch date: November 2000

Frequency: Monthly

Regular advertisers: Renault, Hermes, Epson

Le Monde 2 has been a shining example of a successful newspaper brand extension.

The idea of launching a monthly standalone magazine was to invite a new audience to take up the Le Monde brand. It worked: 70 per cent of the readers of Le Monde 2 are not readers of the newspaper.

The magazine is solidly true to the brand, but much prettier. In fact, it's largely a colourful digest of the newspaper's month. Eighty per cent of the content has been published the month before in the paper, but the photography is new and original and the remaining 20 per cent is mainly original, photo-led articles. The high-quality product sells on the newsstand for three euros.

According to the assistant manager of the title, Martine Macquin, it has also been a commercial success. "Advertisers were enthusiastic, because the Le Monde brand is very prestigious and their advertisements could be published in a beautiful monthly news magazine. And the rate card is less expensive than the newspaper, because the circulation is 135,000 copies versus 400,000 for the newspaper."

At Mediaedge:cia in France, the head of buying, Catherine Bonnange, has observed the progress of the new title. "Yes, it has attracted different advertisers for the brand," she says. "Le Monde is a very strong brand, but it had an issue with colour print. By creating the quality, advertisers can benefit from both the high-quality editorial, but with glossy pictures."

Others have tried a similar trick. Les Echos launched a high-quality quarterly to appeal to luxury goods advertiserts. But, in Bonnange's opinion, "it is not as big, not as revolutionary (as Le Monde 2)."

The title has left the Le Monde people glowing. "For Le Monde," Macquin says, "it is the opportunity to make this brand more brilliant, modern and to target young, educated people and to convince them that our stories and features are interesting and very readable."

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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