The European Wall Street Journal p.

By: Robert O'Connor While it will always contain American elements, a decade after its inception, the newspaper's content has been Europeanized
IN 1983, THE Wall Street Journal took its product directly to Europe. A decade later, the Wall Street Journal Europe ? with a circulation of about 57,000 ? sees itself as very much a European newspaper.
""Our approach for about the last year and a half,"" said Philip Revzin, editor of the Brussels, Belgium-based Wall Street Journal Europe, ""has been to increasingly Europeanize the content of the paper.""
On a typical day, Revzin said, at least two of the newspaper's three main front-page stories will be European. The third might be a U.S. story in which a stronger European angle has been injected.
There inevitably will be, Revzin noted, a strong American element to the European Journal. European interest in the Clinton administration is heavy, and U.S. news might seem to dominate on a day when several large U.S. corporations do something newsworthy. But, on any given day, Revzin observed, ""I'd say that probably more than 50% of the content is European.""
The European Journal has a staff of 18 reporters and about a dozen editors as well as another dozen or so stringers. Each of the three Journals, Revzin said, contributes ? and has access ? to the collective daily electronic news file.
""We're a different newspaper than the American Journal,"" Revzin said. ""Obviously our roots are the same, and we cooperate with each other.""
In 1990 and 1991, Revzin said, the Wall Street Journal decided to move the copy desk staffs from the European and Asian Journals to a combined international copy desk in New York.
""The cutbacks,"" he related, ""were greatly exaggerated by people on the outside.""
He added that advances in technology mean that stories can be assigned electronically from Brussels to a copy editor based in New York. The editors left in Brussels are mainly involved with commissioning stories and laying out the paper.
The European Journal, Revzin said, has adopted and Europeanized regular features that appear in the U.S. Journal. These include columns on advertising, technology, law and small business. The European Journal has originated a column on privatization in Russia and Eastern Europe that is made available to the U.S. Journal.
Circulation, Revzin said, is growing by 6% a year. Germany and the United Kingdom have the largest circulations, with over 10,000 each. Advertising revenues, Revzin added, went up by 7% last year. When the paper began publishing in 1983, daily circulation was about 20,000.
Revzin was unable to provide profit figures, explaining that the parent Dow Jones & Co. does not break them down. On the accounting standard that is used by the company, he said, the European Journal loses money, but he argued that this does not give a true picture.
An advertisement in the U.S. Journal that originated in Europe, he said, is counted toward the profit of the U.S. Journal even though it might have been sold by the European staff. Using a calculation of the amount of money spent in Europe against the revenue it earns there, Revzin said, ""We're vastly profitable.""
Frances O'Neil, media group director at Zenith Media Worldwide in London, said the profitability of the European Journal is not an issue for advertisers, who are merely interested in reaching the newspaper's readers.
The U.S. connection, O'Neil said, is vital to the European Journal, both in terms of name recognition and the possibility of discounted trans-Atlantic advertising packages.
""From the editorial standpoint, if the Wall Street Journal in the U.S. hadn't existed, then the European edition would never have got off the ground,"" O'Neil commented. ""It wouldn't carry the kudos of that brand, which is very, very powerful.""
The Journal, said a London advertising industry source, attracts mainly ""that core audience across Europe who are involved in making very senior decisions for their own markets and for multinational issues."" The Journal, she said, tends to be used in corporate campaigns.
She would like the Journal to use more color advertising. Color, she argues, would give the paper an advantage over the Financial Times, which ? being published on pink paper ? offers poorer contrast for color. She would also like to see the Journal adopt a ""more user-friendly rate card.""
The Journal, she said, measures advertisements in agate lines, while European papers tend to sell them by half-page and quarter-page. This means, she said, that figuring a Journal ad, after a tiring day, can be trying.
Barbara Lewis, general manager of the London office of the U.S. research-based marketing company Erdos & Morgan/MPG, said the European Journal is doing well in a difficult advertising market.
""Their first five years were good,"" she said, ""because the economy was buoyant, and it's been tough the last three or four years.""
Lewis, whose firm has conducted research for the Journal, said the staid appearance of the paper suits European readers ? particularly those in the financial community, who are used to that look from European business newspapers. By contrast, she suggested that the bright colors of USA Today appear garish to Europeans.
The European Journal has formed a partnership with Handelsblatt, the German financial daily. Advertisers can use both papers simultaneously. The Handelsblatt connection, Lewis said, is a valuable route into the large German-speaking market, which includes not only Germany and Austria but also part of Switzerland. The agreement, she said, is also a recognition of the increasing importance of Germany to Europe's economy.
""Traditionally,"" Lewis said, ""for an English-language title, that German-speaking market is very difficult to get into, and I think [the Journal] has been quite sensible, saying, 'If we can't improve our circulation, let's offer something to advertisers.' ""
The readership of the European Journal, Revzin said, is about three-quarters European, with a heavy representation of senior company executives as well as bankers and traders. The demographics, Revzin said, ""are better than the American Wall Street Journal because we have a smaller circulation. The average income is well over $150,000 a year.""
The other English-language pan-European daily newspapers are the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune and USA Today. ""I like to say that the market is big enough for everybody,"" Revzin said. ""I think there are niches that we all fit in and that we don't really take from each other.""
O'Neil said the circulation of the European Journal, while relatively small, delivers a high-quality sector to advertisers. ""For an advertiser trying to reach the business community in Europe,"" said O'Neil, who advises companies on their ad portfolios, ""you could say that it delivers a very target-rich environment.""
With a readership composed of senior people in business and finance, O'Neil said, the Journal is well suited to ""any kind of financial advertising, corporate advertising and general product advertising ? airlines, cars, hotels.""
As a financial newspaper, O'Neil noted, the European Journal also attracts a certain amount of ""tombstone"" advertising ? ads for financial tenders and government loans that must, by law, be placed in the financial press.
The European Journal's main production plant is in the Netherlands. There are two other plants, one near London and the other in Zurich. The British and Swiss plants receive a satellite feed from the Dutch plant. ""We would like to expand in all directions in Europe,"" Revzin said.
The Journal's technicians, according to Revzin, ""always do things with two or three backups"" using satellites, land lines and leased circuits. ""We are constantly exploring different ways to do it ? whether it makes sense to do more satellite stuff or more leased land-lines or fiber-optic cables or whatever.""
The European Journal has had problems with early-morning delivery. The paper has a late close ? midnight Central European time ? as a result of a policy decision to include a maximum of late New York Stock Exchange results and other news and statistics, ""but it kills our distribution,"" Revzin said. ""We miss all of the national post office runs.""
To deal with this problem, the Journal has developed its own expensive subcontracting delivery system, but still there are gaps. ""The hotels and airlines are no problem,"" Revzin said. ""Where we do have a problem is somebody who might live in a London or Paris suburb. Outside of the center of town it's a little bit harder for us to get it there the same day or on the desk at eight in the morning.""
The European staff, Revzin said, is a mixture of Journal veterans ? particularly in the editing jobs ? and local recruits.
""The new hires I have been making recently tend to be either Americans or Europeans who have lived here a long time,"" he said. ""It's rare that we will take somebody from Chicago and say, 'OK, come to Europe. You don't speak any languages, but we'll teach you.'
""We don't cut corners on standards. We're trying to do Wall Street Journal quality in our stories. Increasingly, the Journal in the States is using our stuff on a big story.""
Despite the interest in Eastern Europe as a story, the region is not seen as a revenue producer. Total circulation in the region, Revzin said, is ""a few thousand copies a day,"" concentrated mainly in hotels, airlines and locations where Western tourists congregate.
""There's no money to buy the paper or to advertise. We've got people lining up at Prague newsstands reading our paper and leaving it."nE&P
? Circulation, Revzin said, is growing by 6% a year. Germany and the United Kingdom have the largest circulations, with over 10,000 each. Advertising revenues, Revzin added, went up by 7% last year.
? The European Wall Street Journal
? Using a calculation of the amount of money spent in Europe against the revenue it earns there, Revzin said, ""We're vastly profitable.""


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Scroll the Latest Job Opportunities From The Media Job Board