Introduced to The Times package approximately two years ago, I would argue T2 is essentially a commuter read or for those who have the luxury of time. Having spent a temporary period last year undertaking a 45-minute train journey to work (while builders happily spent every penny I had on my home in town) I had the chance to find out.
I have to say that I grew quite fond of the section (I hope I can live this down). As soon as I had polished off sport and main news I headed straight for T2's inside front cover.
It always contained a topical and expanded piece that provided opinion, subject depth and even satire on a single theme. Overall, T2 contained the usual arts, entertainment and listings (including TV) you would expect, but the cover story always punched its main weight.
The Times seems to have recognised some of the imbalance of the old product with the introduction of the new changes as of 30 September - the week of John Major's sex revelations (the editor probably could not believe his luck). T2 has been given a lighter and more consistent feel. It claims a more magazine-like approach, which basically translates into shorter reads, a greater emphasis on humour and the inclusion of fashion and health to entice a larger female readership. The inside front cover now includes side columns and quotes of the day.
The section flows better with greater signposting and the editorial is a little more accessible, which is a positive move. There are relationship/psychology features. The Monday issue will feature parents, Tuesday focuses on lifetimers (the 45+ age group) and Wednesdays on celebrities. Film still stays in place on Thursdays, with music on Fridays on top of all the regular features.
Most planner buyers devalue these types of sections and having worked on both direct response and brand there are certainly arguments to back this up. These additions are a reader benefit (similar to the likes of The Guardian's Editor), which is a healthy thing in newspaper packages but not high on the average schedule priority list.
However, I think that it's worth taking the time to sample T2. Secondary sections will never command the same media value for market reasons, but there is a genuine depth and relationship with the readers who take the time out for a witty but intelligent digest which advertisers could cash in on.
Publisher: Times Newspapers
Full-page colour ad rate (main section): £36,000
Advertisers include (main news section): Tiffany & Co, BT, Citroen,
Time, HSBC, Virgin Atlantic