Media Analysis: Targeting executives at the weekend

As a new editor takes over at the Financial Times' Saturday edition, Alex Black casts an eye over the myriad opportunities for gaining coverage in the weekend lifestyle supplements of the financial papers.

As Michael Skapinker assumes the hot seat on the Weekend Financial Times this week, he will be well aware that more than two thirds of FT readers only buy the pink paper's weekend offering, which includes supplement FT Weekend.

Much of this loyalty to Weekend Financial Times can be attributed to the edition's lifestyle supplements and their coverage of travel, leisure, art, shopping, style, and everything else that is far removed from the financial journal's usual hard-edged business coverage.

This formula, which is shared by The Wall Street Journal Europe's leisure supplement, Personal Journal, is successful because it closely reflects the attitudes of readers, explains Frank PR director Andrew Bloch.

'Essentially, the Monday to Friday business press is live-to-work, but the weekend editions are more work-to-live,' says Bloch.

Wealth of opportunity

WSJ Europe managing editor Raju Narisetti says readers of its weekend edition (which publishes on Fridays) have high incomes, and want to hear about 'new trends, new products and fresh ideas. Our readers lead extremely busy lives and travel extensively, so we aim to cover the leisure and cultural attractions of European destinations'.

For PROs, this creates a perfect opportunity to get coverage for high-end consumer brands. 'Our readers trust the publication and its recommendations and have the income to follow up references,' explains FT Weekend editor Lorna Dolan.

Kudos account manager Natalie Oliver can vouch for the proactive nature of weekend business press readers. She once successfully placed events firm Red Letter Days in an FT Weekend Christmas gifts feature. 'The following week we had 40 calls from FT readers following it up,' she says. But PROs should not make the mistake of categorising pink-page lifestyle supplement readers as undiscriminating big spenders.

'The people who read these papers are interested in quality, service delivery and value for money,' says Fiona Reece, director at travel PR specialist BGB & Associates. 'They may fly business class, but that doesn't mean they won't be interested in a new online service that helps them shop around for the best deals.'


Editor: Lorna Dolan

Lead time: Two weeks

Circulation: 431,287

Contact:; 020 7873 3000

Describe your editorial policy

We provide lucid, scholarly, sharp and authoritative writing with a global appeal for intelligent, busy readers who are interested in the pleasures of life.

What is the range of topics you cover?

Our range is very broad. We have sections on food, drink, travel, fashion, property, gardening and one called 'living' - which takes in a wide range of modern life as it affects our readers. Subjects must have international appeal, too.

How do FT readers perceive FT Weekend?

The vast majority of readers look at the weekend sections. In the UK, many readers (around 70 per cent) buy only on a Saturday and not during the week, and many of them buy us for our lifestyle coverage.

What advice would you give PROs interested in pitching to FT Weekend?

Indiscriminate calls pitching in a generic way to any old lifestyle section is the least successful approach. Look at the section, pitch to the slots and remember our lead time for ideas is generally at least two weeks.

And if they get it right?

Anecdotal evidence suggests people who appear in our pages get a lot of reader reaction. Advertisers say they get a much higher reader response via us (in proportion to circulation) than from other publications.


Managing editor: Raju Narisetti

Lead time: Three to four weeks

Circulation: 86,156 (EMEA)


What is Personal Journal all about?

It's a separate leisure and lifestyle section of The Wall Street Journal Europe, published with the weekend edition on Friday, offering a guide to European cultural events and themes. We aim to cover 'the business of life' so fashion, travel, culture and design are all big topics.

Who are your readers?

WSJ Europe has the most affluent and influential readership in its market.

The 2004 European Readership Business Study showed we had a higher proportion of senior management among our readers than the International Herald Tribune or the Financial Times, and our readers had the highest average personal income.

What should PROs bear in mind when they pitch stories?

If it's low-key or mass appeal, we're not going to be interested. We are a European paper so have a pan-European rather than UK-specific outlook.

If something is relevant to Asia or the US, it may get covered in our sister papers, too.

Anything else we should know?

In October, Personal Journal will be renamed Weekend Journal and resized to give it more of a magazine feel.

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