Media Analysis: Traveller's bible now big business

The UK's antipodean community this week celebrated Australia Day. Richard Cann asks how PROs target Aussies in Britain through their magazine of choice, TNT.

Australians across Britain this Wednesday celebrated their national day - and hacks and snappers from their magazine of choice, TNT, will have been on hand to capture the livelier moments for publication.

The pace at which 67,000 copies of the magazine disappear every Monday from distribution bins across London is staggering and testimony to the influence it holds over travellers from not only Australia, but also New Zealand and South Africa. A smaller-format Wednesday edition sends out a further 35,000 copies.

After 21 years on the shelves, its mix of travel, entertainment, living advice and news and sports results from back home, stands out from several free weekly newspapers and magazines - such as In London - as the antipodean's essential guide to London living and exploration.

'TNT gives brands the opportunity to give antipodeans a first taste of Britain and their first access to British brands,' says editor Lynette Eyb. 'The flipside of that is our readers do want the connection of brands from home for a bit of nostalgia. But they are an adventurous bunch.'

UK beer brand Foster's uses TNT to promote its Australian credentials, and invited the TNT editorial team to compete in a cricket match for Australia Day. Trafalgar Square was turned into a beach for the occasion and the team, led by former Home and Away star Annalise Braakensiek, took on former English cricketer Phil Tufnell's XI.

'TNT is the antipodean bible,' says Chinedu Adezu, senior account manager at Foster's PR agency Radiator, making TNT an obvious link-up for the lager brand on Australia Day.

Defined readership

Much of TNT's appeal for PROs lies in its defined readership, with up to 90 per cent of its readers coming from Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. 'You know you're getting an active and young audience that is outgoing and exuberant,' says Adezu.

'The disposable income may not be that high as they're travellers, but they are keen to go out and try new things. They are active consumers,' he adds.

Eyb argues that, contrary to what some may believe, TNT readers also have money to spend. She points out that 32 per cent of TNT readers earn above £25,000 (17 per cent earn more than £30,000) - and many arrive in the UK with savings.

TNT has even introduced an investment section to cater for this cashed-up audience - and those intending to hang around in the UK a little longer.

With a remit to help its readers through the often-confusing experience of living overseas, brands offering advice, services or ideas are welcomed.

However, Eyb admits many PROs fail to properly exploit the opportunity.

'Particularly with recruitment and investment, we get releases that are self-promoting. It would be much more useful if a company came to us with some solid research or industry developments,' she says.

Eyb encourages PROs to contact the magazine to find out about its planned features. 'We get approached by PR firms representing baby strollers, which would only interest a very small percentage of our readership. However, it is feasible that we could do a feature on couples living in London, in which they could appear,' she says.

Prize competitions

Competitions and promotions are prominent in TNT. A full-page competition appears every Monday, while further promotions litter both editions. Prizes have included ski trips, flights, iPods, and hotel and entertainment packages.

One PRO who is familiar with TNT is McCluskey International agency principal Judy McCluskey, an Australian who has lived in the UK for 18 years. Throughout her time in the UK, TNT has been a major part of ex-pat life, she says, adding: 'It's just become a more heavy-duty, substantial read.'

Travel remains at the heart of TNT and, although a rough outline of forward features is worked out up to a year in advance, it does not go to press until the week of publication and can respond to last-minute developments.

This flexibility is of particular benefit for PROs publicising late availabilities and special deals - of particular interest to the backpacker market.

TNT's sports section provides an ideal place to promote destinations such as the Caribbean for cricket's World Cup in 2007, McCluskey adds.

BGB Communications director Helen Coop says TNT is more professional than many freesheets, saying: 'You can put it in front of clients and know it will look good.'

With more antipodeans arriving in Britain every day, TNT continues to inform London's transient population in their biggest of adventures. As the hangovers subside after this week's Australia Day spend-fest, even more of its readers may even be eager for some investment advice.

KEY CONTACTS AND FACTS

- Editor, Lynette Eyb, lyn.eyb@tntmag.co.uk;

Travel editor, Elise Rana, elise.rana@tntmag.co.uk; Entertainment editor, Pierre de Villiers,pierre.devilliers@tntmag.co.uk

- 76 per cent of TNT readers are between 22 and 29 years of age

- 82 per cent of readers plan to stay in the UK for more than a year, while half plan to stay more than two years

- 81 per cent go on weekend breaks at least once a month

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