The global business traveller is an elusive prey. While the credit crunch hits everyday consumers, advertisers can still hope to target this audience of high earners. Travelling widely gives them plenty of opportunity to consume media, be it in the airport or hotel, on their BlackBerries or laptops as they hop between destinations.
This is reflected in a strong performance across the major business titles in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The Financial Times has gained or held ad share in all markets, increasing 9% in Europe up to April 2008 (CMR International). Dominic Good, advertising sales director, EMEA, FT, adds that the emergence of a news-hungry "international business elite", such as Russian oligarchs, Arab sheiks and European hedge fund managers, is fuelling this growth.
The major international business publications are doing their best to globalise their brands. The New York Times now supplies features-led content to 25 papers worldwide, including The Observer in the UK. The Wall Street Journal has a similar deal with eight papers in the EMEA region.
Digital media is vital for this audience; business publications now offer a range of e-mail alerts, online video content and podcast material. Wayne Philbert, director at MediaCom, says advertisers must add value. "This audience is over-targeted and time-poor," he says. "Brands must provide something to make them feel informed, such as exclusive content or highly targeted, invitation-only campaigns."
13 OCTOBER 2008
8am: St Pancras International, London - Online research
I'm preparing for a week-long business trip, taking in Paris, Moscow, Dubai and Lagos. While waiting to board Eurostar to Paris, I log on to FT.com and check out the Financial Times' range of destination guides, published with its FT Global Traveller supplement six times a year.
These carry updates on hotels, restaurants and business services. For example, a typical feature might look at "boutique hotels versus five star", concierge services or what to do in Dubai.
I also check out Gulliver, The Economist's business travel blog, to compare comments from fellow high-flying travellers, and The Economist's series of downloadable audio guides on 20 cities, "Doing business in ...".
At WHSmith in the Eurostar terminal, I print digital copies of international newspapers to prepare for my trip, overwhelmed by the 500 titles on offer. I can also read the major business titles available on-board.
7pm: Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris - Airport reading
Before boarding an evening flight to Moscow, I have a couple of hours to kill at the airport, so take advantage of wi-fi facilities in the first-class lounge.
For breaking news and share prices, I look at Business with Reuters, an International Herald Tribune and Reuters co-branded website, which launched in January. It provides a constantly updated multimedia view of global business.
France itself is a thriving market for business publications. Money Week has just launched a French-language version. On arrival at passport control in Moscow, I listen to a full audio edition of The Economist as a podcast - perfect for long immigration queues.
14 OCTOBER 2008
11am: Moscow - BlackBerry break
In a taxi between meetings, I whip out my BlackBerry to check out the latest financial news on FT.com. As a subscriber, I can download FT Reader software to access the latest headlines and content without having to go to the site.
I've also bought the latest iPhone and, as well as calling the office on it, I can view video content from major publications online. The iPhone has some great new features, and screens are getting big enough now to make this a potentially interesting commercial opportunity.
While in Moscow, I pick up an early edition of The Wall Street Journal Europe, which is now printed there. My local counterparts, however, are reading Vedomosti - a joint venture between The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, and Russia's leading business daily with a circulation of 67,935.
15 OCTOBER 2008
7:30am: Dubai - Hotel breakfast
As I sit down to breakfast, I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to newspapers. The International Herald Tribune now prints a Dubai edition, so that it can be at hotel room doors as readers wake up in this booming city. The FT launched a Middle East edition this year and has doubled its circulation in the region to about 12,500. The region is home to some of the FT's biggest advertisers, including city states such as Qatar and Bahrain.
The Economist has just opened a Dubai office and prints a Middle East advertising edition. The Wall Street Journal is flown in from Turkey.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi is also an increasingly significant media hub, with a new daily English-language paper, The National.
16 OCTOBER 2008
6pm: Lagos - Hotel downtime
Alone in my hotel room in Nigeria's capital city, I download the FT's recent country report on the state to my laptop. It's one of a series of detailed country reports - more than 100 a year - that provide an insight into business and economic life. By mugging up on profiles of local business personalities, for example, I can talk more knowledgeably about the region at meetings.
At the end of a hard day, I also want to relax before dinner with a lifestyle-focused read. The Wall Street Journal launched WSJ in September - a lifestyle publication for business people, which focuses on fashion, travel and luxury goods.
It will be published monthly from 2009, with a predicted circulation of 160,000 outside the United States.
Other lifestyle/business publications available to me include The Economist's quarterly magazine Intelligent Life. Rubi Pabani, group account director at MPG's international arm, MPGi, says: "It's a real coffee-table publication - glossy, with articles that will be of interest to the international business elite."
17 OCTOBER 2008
1pm: London - Mid-air catch-up
For me, the plane is an electronics-free zone that, for advertisers, is not a bad thing.
"It's the one place where business people want to be left alone, so print plays a big role with procurement people for the airlines," argues the FT's Dominic Good.
MPG's Rubi Padani says the FT and The Economist are still the key reads for this audience, particularly now BusinessWeek and Forbes no longer publish European editions.
But, as I wind down from my trip, I prefer a more general read, such as Newsweek, Time or even National Geographic.
"It's worth considering publications such as these, as there's an awful lot competing for the traveller's attention in the mainstream business press," says Philbert.
I also dip into the airline's own magazine. According to EMS, a readership study of the top 13% of decision-makers in Europe, in-flight titles such as Air France magazine, Business Life (British Airways) and Blue Wings (Finnair) have higher "average issue readership" than the major pan-European broadsheets, despite their far smaller circulations.
LEADING NEWSPAPERS/AVERAGE NET CIRCULATION PER ISSUE
Financial Times (Main UK edition)*: 136,578
Financial Times (European edition)*: 127,648
The Economist (Continental Europe): 233,455
The Economist (UK): 181,374
The Economist (Middle East/Africa): 27,961
The Wall Street Journal Europe: 81,140
Source: ABC, July-December 2007.
*Figs are for May 26-June 29 2008
International Herald Tribune (Europe): 138,085
International Herald Tribune (Middle East/Africa): 6,822
Source: Office de Justification de la Diffusion
This article was first published on Media Week