It Pays to Regionalize

By Hendrikse, Dick | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, March 1986 | Go to article overview

It Pays to Regionalize


Hendrikse, Dick, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


It pays to regionalize

During a recent trip, I found publishers in five European countries developing and planning new titles for the already crowded business magazine market. The reason, of course, is the success of the existing titles. Even those with very small circulations seem to be extremely profitable, owing to the high cover prices and the healthy number of advertising pages. In a recent issue of the Norwegian monthly Kapital, for example, I counted 93 editorial pages and 147 (!) pages of ads.

Norway's business monthly proves that it pays to regionalize such magazines. With a circulation of just 34,000 copies, it has made owner-publisher-editor Trygve Hegnar one of the richest men in Oslo.

It would be logical if there were space for only one business monthly in the combined Scandinavian area, but there seems to be no business like local business. Both Denmark and Sweden have their business publications, too. The ultimate topper in Stockholm is Bonnier's weekly Veckans Affarer (circulation 44,000).

Going ethnic seems to be an even surer way to become a successful publisher of a business magazine. The German speaking part of Europe (Germany, Austria and part of Switzerland) is dominated by magazines from Germany--but not in the field of business magazines.

Although Gruner + Jahr's Capital (circulation over 250,000) is Europe's largest business monthly, and Impulse (circulation 125,000) from the same publisher is number two, both Austria and Switzerland have their own market leaders. Trend in Austria is now in its 15th year. With a circulation of 72,000 (in a country with seven million inhabitants) it is obviously a very successful business magazine. The figures for Bilanz in Switzerland are just as impressive: 48,000 copies per month. And considering their advertising volume, they sure look healthy.

The secret to both magazines' success appears to be that they are strictly local ("my country is the world," as one of the editors told me) and aimed at generalists rather than specialists in the boardrooms. Plus, in my view, there is the outstanding editorial quality. That goes especially for the outspoken and innovative Austrian Trend.

While Germany's Gruner + Jahr is still testing various issues of their new business weekly Punkt in order to offer readers and advertisers an alternative to competitor Wirtschafts Woche (circulation 115,000), an entirely new development in the world of business magazines is arising in Italy. The market leader there (also named Capital) has always been a little different from the other European titles. In addition to covering business topics, the magazine also gives stylish and trendy information on items such as cars, fashion, travel and so on. In other words, Capital not only tells its readers how to make money, but also how to spend it.

And that is the main purpose of two new, very sophisticated looking monthlies. Both Personal Time (from Roman publisher Armando Curcio) and Gente Money (from Rusconi in Milano) aim at the same (male) reader as the business magazines do, but have quite another story to tell. Art collecting, fast cars, beautiful houses, holiday resorts, fashion, men's cosmetics, performing arts and personal welfare (health, investing, insurance, success) are the subjects. In short: what to do with the money you made by reading those business magazines. The latter's publishers are the first ones to need such advice.

I wouldn't be surprised if a new British monthly, Business--by a joint venture of Conde Nast London and the Financial Times and planned (as of this writing) for early 1986--will show the same characteristics. "We are after the guys who employ the managers," the publisher said.

Immigrating to

imitate success

France--A German in Paris . . . . That can sometimes mean war--and war it was when German Axel Ganz entered the French capital as emissary of Hamburg publisher Gruner + Jahr. …

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