World: Medium of the Week - Asia Life delves deeper for the business traveller

The Review's new addition to its lifestyle section has had mixed reviews.

The Far Eastern Economic Review has recently enhanced its pan-Asia, business, culture and society, politics and news reporting with a new feature section. "Asia Life" focuses primarily on Asian lifestyles, as applied to international business travellers.

Positioned as an extension of The Review's monthly lifestyle section, "Currents", "Asia Life" will delve deeper in its coverage of leisure and lifestyles issues in the region.

When asked about the benefits "Asia Life" brings to its readers, the editor, Michael Vatikiotis, replies: "We wanted to provide something for our readers that they were not getting elsewhere. All we've done is given our readers what we've always given them for Asian business and politics, only now we've applied the insight and analysis that The Review is famous for to lifestyles in Asia."

With the growing increase in business travel, there is a greater demand for local market knowledge, before one even begins travelling. "Any person can go to any destination, pick up a local listings magazine and find out what is going on in that city," Vatikiotis says. "The difference is that we'll be using expertise we have on the ground for travel, leisure, food and drink, to provide unique stories and insights to everyone in Asia, not just the locals."

Reception to the new "Asia Life" section has been mixed among regional media planners. Views range from "(It's) easy to refer to because existing readers know it's in a fixed location of the magazine (the end)" (Lawrence Cheung, a planning manager at MindShare), to "competitors have extended their Asia coverage more and therefore, this 'Asia Life' section is not unique" (Caroline Wu, an account manager at OMD).

In an effort to help Asian businesses to bolster their profiles post-Sars, The Review has offered generous advertising discounts to targeted industries for 2004. "As a Dow Jones policy, we don't normally discount ratecards. However, we've introduced our 'Back on Track' programme that offers opportunities to certain sectors to regenerate their market," the advertising sales director, Douglas Mulcock, says. Travel and tourism industry advertisers enjoy discounts of up to 35 per cent, whereas consumer electronics and education industry advertisers benefit from up to half-price deals.

Content-wise, "Asia Life" plans to feature business travel survival guide tips, undiscovered places of leisure, fine dining and fashion profiles, drawing on its experience with The Review.

Circulation: 90,127

Cost of full-page, four-colour ad: US$18,034 (global edition)

Rival publications: Businessweek, The Economist, Forbes, Time

Cover price: £3.60

Distribution: Predominantly subscription, available newsstand

Typical advertisers: Hyundai Motors, ABN Amro, Rolex, HSBC, Chevron

Texaco, Hewlett Packard, Shell, Sun Microsystems, Intel

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