Magazine article Marketing

UK Papers Eye Euro Openings

Magazine article Marketing

UK Papers Eye Euro Openings

Article excerpt

Establishing a strong presence across Europe has become a key concern for UK newspaper brands.

The euro has launched and further economic and social integration across Europe looks set to become a reality. Cross-border employment is now standard and education and business opportunities should no longer be viewed merely on a national level, but Europe-wide.

Yet, with the exception of Robert Maxwell's attempt to establish a pan-European newspaper brand with The European ,which folded last year, Europe's papers have remained parochial in their outlook.

However, there are signs that UK publishers are becoming aware of the opportunities presented by a more homogeneous Europe. Last October, Guardian Newspapers relaunched its ten-year-old Guardian International as The Guardian Europe, and in January it was revealed that the Financial Times is to launch a German-language edition later this year.

UK publishers have long catered for expats in Europe. Most of the UK newspapers are available across Europe, although in some cases the day after publication. The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph also publish The Guardian Weekly and the Weekly Telegraph, which provide loyal readers with news from a UK perspective.

But expats and holiday-makers are not the only targets. "In terms of the European market for a British newspaper there are three types of reader: expats, holiday-makers and business people, both British and foreign nationals," says Simon Tisdall, executive editor of The Guardian. "UK newspapers have tended to focus on the first two, but following the relaunch of The Guardian Europe, we are focusing on all three."

The Guardian Europe offers a condensed version of the domestic editorial; its broadsheet section has only 20 pages. It is printed simultaneously in France and Frankfurt and its main point of difference is the slogan on its masthead, 'Britain's Newspaper for Europe'. This sums up its branding as a British newspaper which gives a British perspective to UK, European and international news.

Language barriers

It is an offering that Tisdall is adamant has the making of a strong European brand. "The Guardian has a high brand recognition in Europe," he says." Like the BBC it stands for reliability, credibility and independence. If you have a brand with that level of recognition and confidence then you would be crazy not to build on that."

Commercial opportunities for The Guardian Europe are limited at present. With a claimed circulation of only 25,000 - it is audited as part of the UK edition - The Guardian Europe merely reprints the ads sold in the UK. Meanwhile, industry observers remain sceptical about the chances of a general interest newspaper overcoming language barriers in Europe.

"While the language of business is English and people are happy to read about business in an English language paper, when relaxing they prefer to read in their own language," says Hugh Walker, head of media for Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

However, Guardian Newpapers has other irons in the fire. It is developing commercially through alliances with national newspapers such as Le Soir in Belgium, Le Monde in France and El Mundo in Spain. This allows for credited syndication of editorial, which offers the benefit of building The Guardian brand across Europe. In addition, The Guardian's commercial team uses these links to offer advertisers their services as a coordinator of advertising across a range of European titles. …

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