INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MEDIA: THE NEW INTERNATIONALISTS - Sophisticated and cosmopolitan, it’s no wonder business people are the target of an increasing range of publications keen to help inform their world view - and take advantage of their dispo

They travel to some of the most exotic nations on earth. They get to visit their own corporate equivalents of ’Q’ branch before departure and are issued with the latest in hi-tech equipment. Above all, they’re about the only people left in this prosaic age who can get a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, on expenses of course.

They travel to some of the most exotic nations on earth. They get

to visit their own corporate equivalents of ’Q’ branch before departure

and are issued with the latest in hi-tech equipment. Above all, they’re

about the only people left in this prosaic age who can get a vodka

martini, shaken not stirred, on expenses of course.

Today’s businessmen and women are a rather more glamorous version of

their workmanlike predecessors. They can cross the globe - virtually, or

in person - and, as a consequence perhaps, seldom consider themselves

constrained by national boundaries. English or American, Japanese, Thai

or Vietnamese, they share more with each other than they ever do with


Inevitably, this is increasingly reflected in the media they


Many businesspeople read the same newspapers and magazines and watch the

same programmes. The language of business magazines, like the language

of business itself, is increasingly a sophisticated, cosmopolitan and,

above all, international.

’We are international and stress the links between politics and

business,’ Bill Emmott, editor of the Economist, says. ’At a time when

business is internationalising and when more countries are striving to

join the world economy, we think our approach is ever more relevant and


Certainly the Economist has gone further down the route of

internationalism than any other title - after all, fully 82 per cent of

its worldwide circulation is derived from outside the UK, its country of

origin. But there has also been a widespread acceptance among the

publishers and broadcasters in general of the importance of a truly

global presence.

And this hasn’t merely been achieved through their work on the Internet,

impressive though this has been. The Wall Street Journal Interactive

edition, for example, is now the largest paid-for publication site on

the Web, and its publisher, Peter Kann, was able to tell readers earlier

this year: ’Journal content is available in virtually any form, time or

place - Internet, intra-day, internationally.’

For all that, it’s the success some publishers have had taking the

printed version of titles to opinion-formers across the globe that has

proved so impressive. Early this year, the Financial Times revamped its

international edition, for example, and the changes provide a valuable

guide to the current preoccupations of the business media. The front

page was redesigned, bringing lead international stories to the fore and

an extra page of news from the Americas was added. An international

people section was added to give details of job changes and stocks from

countries such as the Czech Republic, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and

Thailand were added to the FT’s more usual fare from the world’s most

important markets - Tokyo, New York, London, Frankfurt and Paris. The

international business media - the former Soviet Bloc, the Americas and,

above all, the Tiger economies of South-east Asia - all focus on the

global angle of stories.

As part of the FT relaunch, a page was dedicated solely to Asia-Pacific

news. This is the region that is seen as providing the quickest route to

growth. Dow Jones has published the Asian Wall Street Journal since

1976, but only since the emergence of Asian economic powers over the

past few years has the region really taken off.

The good news is that recent hiccups in the Asian economic performance

have not yet spilled over into the media that feed off the region. The

crisis fuelled by a property crash in Thailand has helped check

Indonesia’s impressive growth but overall confidence in the region

remains high, especially now that more of the media owners are reaching

critical mass in the area and feel able to produce more localised

editions and discrete programming.

S. K. Fung, the Asia president of NBC, says: ’Distribution of our

business news channel, CNBC, has doubled over the past 11 months. It now

reaches eight million homes in the Asia-Pacific region. We think this

growth validates our programming strategy of responding to market needs

through localisation and programme development.We’re getting more

viewers every day for the channel across Asia.’

Now CNBC is launching local programming for India. A localised version

of CNBC launched in October last year and, together with the

entertainment and information channel, NBC, now reaches three million

households in metropolitan areas. Malaysia is a new market for the

channel, while distribution in Thailand has increased by more than 200

per cent over the past year.

Mark Proudfoot of MediaCom says: ’Asia still offers the prospect of

growth for media owners. The tiger economies are still booming despite

the occasional scare.’ Proudfoot has returned to the UK to run the

Fortune business after nearly three years in Hong Kong.

The penetration made by the international business magazines in the

region is even more impressive than that of their broadcast


The Economist, for example, is read by 52 per cent of institutional

investors in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a major world-wide

study by Erdos & Morgan.

In the UK and on the Continent, that figure rises to around 80 per cent

but, in the US, drops to around a third.

The growing importance of Asia can be realised by merely glancing

through the magazines’ editorial calendar. Next month, for example,

Fortune is launching its first in-depth analysis of Asia’s leading

wealth creators, while three of the year’s 16 special reports are

centred on the region.

The Economist, on the other hand, is dedicating two surveys it has

pencilled in for the first quarter of next year to Asia and Asian


But it’s not just the growing internationalism of business that has

forced the magazines to seek to construct global empires. To an extent,

the titles have been forced to look farther afield for circulation and

ad revenue.

Competition in the more mature markets is fierce. And it’s getting more

so. The European is the latest challenger.

It started life as Robert Maxwell’s typically perverse take on the Daily

Mail - a sort of mid-market broadsheet for the whole of Europe.

Unfortunately, the mid-market broadsheet reading classes of Europe

didn’t think of themselves as sufficiently ’European’ to buy it - and a

circulation of around 155,000, and a relatively humble audience

demographic, was hardly going to make it viable in that particular


The one class that does see itself as existing beyond national barriers

is the business class, and the new-look paper targets them. In July,

readers got their first look at the new paper - an upmarket 64-page

tabloid far removed from its previous incarnation as a multi-section


The cultural magazine, Elan, was one of the first things to go and the

editor-in-chief, Andrew Neil, has said he is prepared for circulations

to fall back to around 100,000 as the paper’s readership profile


The new focus of the title is on economically important areas of Europe,

with Germany the top priority. German news coverage has already been

increased and the idea of a separate German-language edition is now

being discussed.

Similarly, the Dow Jones and Flextech joint venture, EBN, believes it

has identified room for growth in the supposedly mature European


Maybe, but the real battle for businesspeople’s hearts, minds and

disposable income has, one suspects, already moved on.


Owner: Pearson/The Economist

US Circulation: 278,176

European Circulation, ex UK: 134,974

UK Circulation: 112,052

Asia Circulation: 57,931

Worldwide Circulation: 630,021


Other Information:

The Economist’s worldwide circulation has almost doubled over the past

decade and it has a worldwide readership figure of around 2.5


Circulation of the magazine outside the UK accounts for 83 per cent of

sales and it’s sold in 180 countries. The average personal income of

readers worldwide is dollars 124,000. In the UK, the average is a

comparatively modest pounds 68,000. It also publishes six surveys a

year. Topics range from Tourism to Central Asia’s Oil Economies. The

Economist Intelligence Unit publishes a range of specialist titles,

often with a regional slant.


Owner: Dow Jones & Company

US Circulation: 1,837,194

European Circulation: 65,657

Asia Circulation: 56,467

Worldwide Circulation: 1,959,318


Other Information

The Journal became the first western newspaper publisher to look to the

Asian market when it launched the Asian Wall Street Journal in 1976.

The Wall Street Journal Europe, published in Belgium, launched in 1983

and employs 50 editorial staff in 18 cities. In addition, bannered pages

from the paper are translated and syndicated to national newspapers with

a combined circulation of some 4.5 million in countries ranging from

Canada to China. The Wall Street Journal Americas, translated into

Spanish and Portuguese, appears in 20 Latin American newspapers with a

combined circulation of 2.2 million.


Owner: Pearson

US Circulation: 34,019

European Circulation ex UK: 85,926

UK Circulation: 326,676

Asia Circulation: 8,468

Worldwide Circulation: 456,553


Other Information

The FT has some catching up to do if it is to achieve its stated goal of

reinventing itself as a true international title, but it has moved

swiftly since opening its first overseas print centre in Frankfurt in

1979. The newspaper is printed in eight countries, including Japan and,

since March 1996, Hong Kong.

The FT’s editor, Richard Lambert, is based in New York, where the paper

is concentrating its overseas effort. The FT’s reach of senior executive

in large US companies has grown by 70 per cent since 1994 and the scope

for growth is felt to be huge.


Owner: Time Warner

US Circulation: 775,031

European Circulation ex UK: 31,837

UK Circulation: 11,682

Asia Circulation: 53,438

Worldwide Circulation: 900,871


Other Information

Fortune has been one of the editorial success stories of recent years

and has now started to make broadening its global reach a priority. Two

thirds of Fortune’s North American readers have business dealing outside

the country. It still sells more copies in Asia than in Europe and in

addition to 12 Asian editions in 18 countries, publishes Fortune China,

with a circulation of 51,000. Fortune Americas is a free-standing,

20-page insert composed of editorial material from Fortune translated

into Spanish and Portuguese.


Owner: Bloomberg

Bloomberg TV: US Distribution N/A

European Cable Distribution: 4.07 million households

News Radio Network: 100 Affiliates

Bloomberg Magazine: Worldwide Circulation 180,000


Other Information

Bloomberg is trying to leverage the success of its innovative real-time

financial data provision service, delivered 24-hours a day to more than

250,000 financial professionals and organisations worldwide, into the

mainstream media. Bloomberg TV broadcasts around the world in seven

languages. The New York radio station, Bloomberg News Radio, has more

than 100 affiliates worldwide. The wire service, Bloomberg News,

provides business news to more than 850 newspapers, while the Bloomberg

magazine has an average reader age of 34 and an average personal income

of pounds 80,000.


Owner: Barclay Brothers

US Circulation: 22,406

European Circulation ex UK: 78,395

UK Circulation: 47,367

Worldwide Circulation: 155,024


Other Information

The title is energetically reinventing itself in the mould of its

editor-in-chief, Andrew Neil, as an international business title. It

claims a worldwide readership of 612,000, including more than a quarter

of European Members of Parliament. The average personal income of

readers is dollars 82,000 while 44 per cent of the paper’s readers fall

into the AB socio-demographic group. Neil’s priority is to help improve

on both of those figures.


Owner: McGraw-Hill

US Circulation: 920,618

European Circulation ex UK: 46,652

UK Circulation: 14,641

Asia Circulation: 48,922

Worldwide Circulation: 1,069,227


Other Information

Business Week has 24 worldwide bureaux and claims a worldwide readership

of 6.8 million. It has one of the most loyal readerships of any of the

business titles. In North America, more than half of the subscribers

have been reading the title for more than five years, while half of all

international subscribers have been readers for more than three



Owner: Dow Jones & Co and Flextech

Partial Day Distribution: UK Households 3.4million

Germany: 6.6 million

Norway: 170,000

France: 101,470

Full-time Distribution: 10.8 million

Gross Distribution: 21.1 million



Owner: Reuters

Bureaux: 163

Revenue Breakdown:

Europe: 54 per cent

Asia: 17 per cent

Americas: 15 per cent


Other Information

News is gathered for business and media clients in 25 languages.


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