Media: Double Standards - 'There's a renewed excitement about business'

How does the Financial Times compete against a young upstart like City AM? Two senior figures from the titles reveal their commercial strategy.

LAWSON MUNCASTER MANAGING DIRECTOR, CITY AM

- Why has there been a growth in the demand for business news?

Business and investment news over the past decade has become far more mainstream and topical. However, people have also become time poor, so packaging business news to fit this demand has also been pivotal in attracting new, relevant readers.

- Have you noticed any interest from advertisers who traditionally haven't advertised in your title?

Massively. It is City AM's largest growth area as clients start to understand that although our readers are business people, they are also highly desirable consumers. Sony PlayStation, Nike and Nintendo are examples of consumer brands we've attracted.

- What recent changes have you made to your title for advertisers?

We've recently introduced new advertising shapes and cover-wraps. Plus, we've launched a City PM offering, which incorporates our podcast and mobizine (a daily text and graphic package sent to mobile phones), enabling multiplatform solutions.

- What makes your title stand out from its competitors?

City AM's the first and only paper aimed exclusively at London's financial and business areas. We distribute as people end their journey. Business people start early, and we fill a knowledge gap as they prepare for their day. City AM brings paid-for, quality journalism to the free model.

- What's your growth potential overseas?

Now that would be telling! But City AM's success is based on a formula that could transcend both language and cultural boundaries. My belief is that although we live in a global business village, business news still has to be interpreted locally.

- What impact has the launch of free titles had on the paid-for market?

Surprisingly little if you look at the September ABCs. What's important is that major publishing groups around the world understand the need for a stable that includes both free and paid-for. The print market has never been so vibrant, moving to a far more thematic proposition, resulting in unique advertising targeting opportunities.

- What do you do to promote your newspaper to readers and what has been the biggest challenge in advertising your brand?

Money! As a targeted free newspaper, the distribution cost is essentially a marketing cost. The editorial product is everything - the front cover is our daily poster ad. The readers of City AM are very self-selecting. However, you always need to do more.

- What's been the best business story you've broken this year?

The £2.3 billion takeover of Associated British Ports by an international consortium led by Goldman Sachs in March 2006.

- What do you offer advertisers online?

Currently under construction!

- Which business leader impresses you the most and why?

Kelvin MacKenzie, Chris Trainer and Eric Newnham spring to mind, but it's more about people prepared to win in business. Not about outspending, but about being clever.

- What are your interests away from the office?

Currently none ... we are a start-up! My family (Zoe, Ben, Ruby Rose), the famous Celtic and golf.

BEN HUGHES GLOBAL COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FINANCIAL TIMES

- Why has there been a growth in the demand for business news?

There's now such a proliferation of data available that we've seen a real growth in demand for high-quality, accurate business news that cuts through the clutter. And there's a renewed sense of excitement about the world of business. The recent success of TV programmes such as The Apprentice reflect the drama and appeal of business.

- Have you noticed any interest from advertisers who traditionally haven't advertised in your title?

Yes. The ad recession forced us to look beyond our traditional financial and corporate advertisers. We've worked closely with the luxury goods brands, who now see the FT as a natural home to market their products.

- What recent changes have you made to your title for advertisers?

We've introduced a quarterly "bonus" weekday edition of How To Spend It and we launched House & Home as a separate section - both have proved very popular. They're also both good examples of the power of combining great, unique content with slick design.

- What makes your title stand out from its competitors?

Quality. This value applies to our content and our audience. We've sharpened our editorial focus over the past year and it shows - we provide expert comment and analysis that is unique to the FT. We've also performed very well on the key international readership surveys.

- What's your growth potential overseas?

We're already a truly international title, with two-thirds of our circulation outside the UK. What's happening in China and India is important to our audience, whether they're based in London or Chicago. More than half of our ad bookings are for global campaigns which run in all editions.

- What impact has the launch of free titles had on the paid-for market?

There's a fundamental difference between a quality, premium-priced product such as the FT and a freesheet. There's a place for both, but we feel we inhabit different spaces. It does make the media market an even more interesting place to be and free titles can help to stimulate readership of newspapers among younger people.

- What do you do to promote your newspaper to readers and what has been the biggest challenge in advertising your brand?

We focus on the strength of our editorial product and the fact that the FT provides a global insight and an authority that is not available elsewhere. We've just appointed DDB London as our ad agency and we'll be launching a brand campaign next year, which we're very excited about.

- What's been the best business story you've broken this year?

We've been way ahead of the competition on BP: we broke the story that Lord Browne would be stepping down in 2008, that he'd be overhauling the company after the Texas City refinery blast last year and we were first on the Prudhoe Bay inspection data-tampering.

- What do you offer advertisers online?

FT.com provides a fantastic intra-day insight into the big global business, financial and political stories. Advertisers have the benefit of reaching our valuable online audience with interactive, highly targeted and trackable campaigns.

- Which business leader impresses you the most and why?

Sir Terry Leahy of Tesco. His focus on the customer is truly impressive and explains why Tesco has been so successful.

- What are your interests away from the office?

I play and watch sport - particularly my children, who are much better at it than me!

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).