International Business Media: Special report

Business people are getting cooler. The days of fortysomething execs looking awkward at an evening function, in chinos, a blue blazer and deck shoes, are becoming a thing of the past.

Thankfully, these guys are now less likely to work the look chatshow legend Alan Partridge famously defined as "sports casual". Though still confined to a pinstripe world lacking in much diversity, the modern businessman has - like the rest of the consumer world - become more brand-conscious and media-savvy. Happy days for business media owners. They can now count on bigger chunks of revenue from the likes of Hugo Boss and Armani.

But there is one thing modern business people (particularly those travelling a lot) do still share in common with Mr Partridge: a love for business TV.

While perhaps not as exotic as Steve Coogan's character would like, the type of programming now running across these channels is helping advertisers hit this affluent audience in a more engaged, relaxed and open frame of mind. Hardly surprising then, with so many ad dollars to play for, that a number of big media owners are rolling the dice and backing a rash of new launches in the business media market.

And as the Publicis Groupe Media president, Jack Klues, points out (page 29), with chunks of spot revenue now going elsewhere, media owners are having to examine other ways to connect with audiences. One solution has been branded content. It's a hard formula to get right on TV but there have been successes. The big challenge this niche shares with all brand communication, however, is how to make the content work in a digital world - and still make money out of it. Considering this target market's areas of expertise, perhaps they should ask the audience.

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