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DMNews chats with Greg Zorthian, global circulation director, Financial Times


Q: How successful is the Financial Times brand in the US market?


A: Very. We have an influential reader­ship and major impact on people who are making global business and govern­ment decisions. Our journalists are in high demand for commentary on global events, and we have a strong Web site. And, circulation reached an all time high — it was a good year.


Q: What is Financial Times doing to grow its worldwide readership?


A: We have valuable content, and we will distribute it any way the consumer wants it, whether a traditional newspa­per, the Web site, RSS feeds or through a mobile device. We have a wonderful Blackberry reader that we offer, so we’ll go to any corner of the world with a different format and distribution.


Q: How does Financial Times’ circula­tion group interact with sales, editorial and Web?


A: I’ve worked in sales, finance and editorial, so I know that circulation is just a piece of a larger puzzle. We can’t operate in a vacuum or in a silo — which is where many publications get in trouble. What we do impacts Web and editorial ad sales, so we have to be very aware of what we’re doing and how we can all work together to maximize the value of this business. We don’t do things just for circulation, but think about how they affect other seg­ments of the business.


Q: How has Financial Times’ audience in its key markets changed over the past five years?


A: In the US, our audience has grown significantly. It’s up 70%, and a sig­nificant component of our readers are C-level executives. In the UK we have very strong audience numbers. We are more of a mainstream publication there — a necessary business tool. Circulation is 44,000 in Asia, and we’re growing fast. It reflects the importance of busi­ness and global business in Asia. We have a significant presence in Hong Kong and Japan…we’re in 17 markets out there and have a very large Inter­net presence there as well, especially in China. In continental Europe, we have strong ties and strong distribution across main European countries.


Q: What are your thoughts on the talk of print publications losing circulation?


A: Given the opportunity, I will always toot our own horn. We don’t feel like we’re in trouble, demand is strong for the Financial Times in print. We raised our newsstand price in the US 33% to $2, making it the most expensive daily newspaper, and sales went up. If you look at newsstand sales as the canary in the mineshaft of your circulation health, we feel very strong.


I think some publications have gotten into trouble in the past few years because they haven’t invested in circulation and have taken a less long-term point of view. There are people out there who want to get news and information online. They’re younger and more comfortable with online access, and that’s fine too because we’re selling content and we want to be available any way they want.

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