John Ridding, the CEO of The Financial Times, defends the newspaper in a Marketing Week article in the wake of those who believe the paper will suffer when competing against a rejuvenated Wall Street Journal under News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.
Ridding is a former reporter and editor for the paper.
Stuart Smith wrote, “Ridding is also quick to highlight the 27% growth of the Asian edition during the first half of this year. Not unnaturally, perhaps. It was launched as recently as 2003 in the teeth of the confidence-sapping Sars epidemic and he was in charge of it until being made group chief executive in May 2006. It now has a circulation of about 40,000.
“The key to FT growth, insists Ridding, is an intimate understanding of its specialised audience, the so-called ‘C-suite’ of CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CTOs and, of course, CMOs, who have a certain commonality of interests and spending habits worldwide. ‘Globalisation is a tectonic force,’ he says, and the FT must ride upon it. C-suite readers, with their colossal disposable incomes and aspirational tastes, create interesting opportunities for lucrative offshoots – How To Spend It being the most obvious example. But the genuine global positioning does something else as well (and here Ridding implies a major difference with the US-centric WSJ).
“It has enabled the FT to build up a useful synergy among advertisers over all its markets: ‘Two-thirds of our ads now appear in all four editions,’ he says. The importance of this trend should not be underestimated. Ridding sees it as a means of bringing on ‘the next cohort of global players’. The FT has the opportunity to become the chosen carrier not only of ideas but of revenues, as Asian brands begin to carve out a market in Europe and the US.”
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