Why global businesses are opting for a bit of local colour

Newsweek, which recently advised its 24 million readers that London was the place to be, has just launched its fourth foreign edition in 14 months. ’Our new baby speaks Greek’ it announced as Tempo/ Newsweek hit Athens.

Newsweek, which recently advised its 24 million readers that London

was the place to be, has just launched its fourth foreign edition in 14

months. ’Our new baby speaks Greek’ it announced as Tempo/ Newsweek hit

Athens.



Newsweek points out that it is the only American news magazine to create

foreign editions in local languages, crafted to local needs. There are

Russian, Spanish and Korean versions so far, to augment its three

English language editions, and more are clearly on the way. Newsweek is

catering, it says, for emerging educated middle classes with a thirst

for information and ideas which modern American-inspired journalism can

provide.



Globalisation is of course the latest buzz word for many companies. And

the media sector is up there with the leaders. But, as Newsweek

demonstrates, something rather more ambitious is taking place in the

information/publishing sector, than simply offering people, wherever

they live, the same product, like a McDonald’s hamburger.



There is a spate of heavy investment underway as the big brands work

away at extending their influence by tailoring their product in new

ways: on a more local level you only have to look at the decision of the

new management at Pearsons to invest pounds 100 million building up,

from this summer, separate American and Asian editions of the FT.



But the current move by global US operators to act regionally, even

locally, is most clearly demonstrated by CNN and MTV, who were so

closely associated with pioneering satellite services in the 1980s. They

are both now pursuing policies of regionalisation in a determined bid to

build up their audiences and get closer to their interests, rather than

relying on being American and different.



CNN International, for example, started its first foreign language

service (in Spanish) for Latin America in March, sees a new Chinese

service as logical, and is stepping up both its German language output

and programming from London, where it is expanding fast. However,

Atlanta will remain its centre.



MTV is being more radical, launching separate local language services

around the globe more in the Newsweek model. In Britain it relaunches

itself next month as MTV for the UK, completely revamping the service

with British music, regional accents and live coverage of the main

festivals.



It will also sport a whole new group of presenters: MTV’s talent scouts,

for example, have been recruiting stand-up comics.



The strongest media players are aware that the spread of real

multichannel TV and the Internet provide a potentially massive explosion

of choice, so they are trying to marry the advantage of being big brands

with new relevant services. Audiences are not captives. And the most

dynamic companies are not dinosaurs either.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.