The relaunched bi-monthly title - a showcase for the group's journalism and photography - has been taken out to the news-stands with the intention of
taking on The Economist and Newsweek.
The Economist's redesign in May 2001, meanwhile, has been one of the biggest news stories in the market, boosting the UK-based news weekly's global
circulation to 838,030. As with the Wall Street Journal Europe's similar move in the newspaper sector in April, the changes to The Economist - with more colour on the pages and more bite-size summaries - are designed to make the magazine more accessible.
The Economist's senior marketing director Huge McCahey says: "Although we write in fine English, we wanted the magazine to look brighter and be more accessible for readers in continental Europe and Asia.
"When you introduce colour, it also gives you more possibilities for advertising, so there's a benefit to readers and advertisers."
McCahey claims The Economist is the only truly global
magazine in the market, because more than 80% of
its 838,030 circulation - 696,695 copies - is ex-UK.
"Because The Economist is a truly international title, and it has a UK element and feel, it seems more palatable and more of a natural fit to UK agencies," says MediaCom associate director Sanjay Shabi, who heads accounts including Emirates Airline.
"Time, Fortune and Forbes Global have a more US feel.
In the aftermath of September 11 and the political ramifications of what was going on, The Economist was seen to tread a more neutral line."
The new frontiers
Although Forbes Global has a US circulation of just 535, out of a worldwide total of 113,406, about half of its editorial is rejigged from its US sibling. Likewise, about 60% of the bi-monthly business title Fortune's covers in Europe have a European bias. This compares with 80% for Fortune's current affairs stablemate, Time - a behemoth of a global brand with a European circulation of 629,425.
However, Fortune's international advertising director, Andy Bush, does not see the title's US slant as a drawback given the market it covers.
"The association with the US can be a turn-off in the UK and France, but we'd never be ashamed of ourselves. With the world economy being driven by the US, Fortune offers a perspective you can't get in any other media. More than Business Week and The Economist, we've taken the lead in reporting on the latest developments coming out of the US in markets such as technology," he says.
Time and Fortune's international publisher, Andrew Butcher, adds: "I can understand where the agencies are coming from, but it doesn't matter where the magazine is coming from as long as people are reading it."
Indeed, 137,432 people, to be exact, are reading Time in Europe. Likewise, Forbes Global's director of marketing and research for the UK and Republic of Ireland, Jane Turner, says the magazine's readership profile in Europe is very strong among the affluent ABC1s, who marketers are gagging to get to. She says the title performs better in the European Business Readership Survey - which covers about 400,000 senior managers in Europe - than
Fortune, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal Europe.
"This highlights the fact that we're getting to the people we're aiming for - people who require information about
business success and personal finance. We may have a lower circulation than Newsweek, but we get a higher readership score because we focus specifically
on an upscale senior business market," she says.
And this talk of delivering a high-quality audience in significant quantities is music to planner/buyers' ears, whatever a magazine's cultural quirks.
Crossing the border
Pan-European titles are one of the few channels able to deliver a consistent message across borders, tying in with national media to communicate to business travellers as they move between countries.
Not only does this rule out the need for agencies to deal with sales points stretching from London to Lisbon, but pan-European titles are perceived to have a halo effect lacking among national publications. According to the Advantage survey of European press, companies which advertise in cross-territory magazines seem 81% more international than than those appearing in national titles.
Commissioned by the World Press Group - which comprises BusinessWeek, The Economist, Fortune, the International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Time - the Advantage survey canvassed five million respondents in eight major European markets. This is one of the many research initiatives seen in the sector, which has set up projects including EBRS, European Media Survey and Europe 2001 to compensate for the inadequacy of looking at their readership on a county-by-country basis using sources such as the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The magazines, notably The Economist, also carry out their own bespoke research.
The titles' ad sales teams are also working hard to attract agency spend. Fortune's Bush was promoted to his current position this summer in order to liaise between the magazine's major sales teams in London and New York, ensuring the two offices get the most business out of global agencies and clients receive a cohesive service.
"Globalization is an unstoppable force and the agencies are setting themselves up to work globally. Fortune will be well placed to capitalize on European companies which want to break into the US, and vice versa," he says.
As part of AOL Time Warner, Time and Fortune have devised all manner of advertising packages, which span countries, media and even companies.
Time Warner Publishing has been touting around a package of Time and some IPC titles, while it has already run a campaign for the financial services group UBS, which has a yachting affiliation, across Time, Fortune and CNN Sports, targeting the rich at work and on the yacht.
Another strong case study for the sector was the relaunch campaign for Shell, planned and bought by MindShare Worldwide in July 2000, which supplemented national campaigns with ads in titles
including Time, Forbes Global, The Economist and Fortune. It had to target everyone from consumers in the UK to lobbyists and politicians in Belgium, where the brand has a relatively minimal retail presence.
"This was a useful way of reaching business travellers, who are lighter consumers of traditional media anyway as they work longer hours," says MindShare Worldwide managing partner Steve Pollock.
"It depends on the way a client is structured, but clients are generally becoming more amenable to running pan-