INTERNATIONAL: European news publications shine in new business readership survey

The Financial Times and Der Spiegel lead the way, Stephen Armstrong writes

The Financial Times and Der Spiegel lead the way, Stephen Armstrong


The latest European Business Readership Survey shows that the Financial

Times - guarantor of the survey along with RSL Research - remains the

top publication among the 20 titles researched across 17 countries. Der

Spiegel continued to lead the weeklies, despite a drop in average

readership, and National Geographic came out best of the monthlies in

the study, which was last conducted three years ago.

Only Der Spiegel, the European and Euromoney lost readers over the

period, according to the survey, which singled out members of senior

management at medium to large companies around Europe. A group of

369,441 top decision-makers (figures for 1993 were drawn from 312,480

respondents) were selected by RSL Research, which questioned each about

their reading habits and involvement in company buying decisions, as

well as about details of business travel.

The EBRS figures showed that eight publications increased their

readership among this group, mainly daily newspapers: Handelsblatt, the

International Herald Tribune, the Times, USA Today and the Wall Street

Journal Europe. The Economist was the only weekly title to increase its

coverage of the target group. There were two climbers among the

monthlies, National Geographic and Harvard Business Review.

However, before reaching for the champagne, circulation managers should

examine the lifestyle data given by the same respondents. This showed

that readers were working harder, travelling more and being forced to

take cheaper flights than two years ago, suggesting that a return to the

glory days of the 80s is still far away.

Overall, the survey, which covered 285 national and international

titles, showed few dramatic movements in circulations across Europe.

Perhaps the largest shift was in Der Spiegel, which showed pan-European

readership has fallen by more than 1,000 over the period, stoking fresh

fears that its competitor, Focus, has gained ground on Germany’s leading

fortnightly business title.

Der Spiegel, however, denies losing share to its competitor. The title’s

market research director, Hans-Jurgen Witt, puts the lower figures down

to a low response rate to the survey and argues that Der Spiegel’s move

into TV advertising and its increased use of colour since the launch of

Focus has helped fend off competition.

This was dismissed by Katherine Page, international media director at

RSL. Although agreeing that the response rate was slightly lower than in

1993, she maintains that this has caused no problems with the accuracy

of the data.




Title                    1993                  1996                93-96

                        Readers      %        Readers      %       Index

                       per issue   coverage  per issue   coverage

Financial Times          57,841      18.5      66,412      18.0      97

FAZ                      48,163      15.4      54,576      14.8      96

Handelsblatt             42,442      13.6      52,588      14.2     105

IHT                       9,175       2.9      11,784       3.2     109

The Times                18,790       6.0      26,740       7.2     120

USA Today                 4,305       1.4       8,364       2.3     164

Wall St Journal Europe   12,596       4.0      15,822       4.3     106

Businessweek             22,841       7.3      25,046       6.8      93

The Economist            32,400      10.4      40,030      10.8     105

The European              7,075       2.3       6,099       1.7      73

L’Express                26,772       8.6      29,010       7.9      92

Newsweek                 16,839       5.4      19,189       5.2      96

Der Spiegel              52,311      16.7      51,211      13.9      83

Time                     22,246       7.1      25,290       6.8      96

Fortune                  13,997       4.3      14,968       4.1      90

Euromoney                11,934       3.8      11,265       3.0      80

Institutional Investor   11,097       3.6      12,019       3.3      92

National Geographic      30,752       9.8      37,436      10.1     103

Scientific American       6,675       2.1       6,970       1.9      88

Harvard Business Rev.    25,775       8.2      30,983       8.4     102



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