OLD Media Moves

Financial Times is tickled pink

April 11, 2008

Jon Fine of BusinessWeek writes in the latest issue about The Financial Times and how it’s thriving despite increased competition from The Wall Street Journal.

Financial TimesFine writes, “‘We are not going to be mesmerized by The Wall Street Journal,’ says FT editor Lionel Barber. ‘I am not sure it’s a huge advantage right now, in various parts of the world, to be an American newspaper.’ (That it’s an American newspaper owned by an Australian company that has hired Brits such as Les Hinton and Robert Thomson to help oversee it somewhat complicates Barber’s calculus. Journal executives declined to comment.)

“The FT and the Journal are wholly different beasts. The Journal’s print circulation in the U.S. alone (1.7 million) dwarfs the worldwide circulation of the FT (just under 450,000). Ridding and Barber pound hard on talking points that position the FT as uniquely ‘global’—three-quarters of its ads appear in more than one edition, reports Ridding, a ex-journalist who could pass as Hugh Grant’s older, businessman brother.

“But they’re not wrong. The FT is a niche player, one with no claims to a mass market, and a well-balanced global circulation (roughly 150,000 in the U.S., 140,000 in Britain, and 160,000 throughout Europe, the Mideast, Asia, and Africa) that makes it uniquely suited for a class of advertiser targeting a class of reader—finance-obsessed types who spend lots of time in first-class airport lounges, say. A smallish sphere, but small is the new big, at least if your audience is rich.”

Read more here.

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