Dennis set to turn The Week into global brand

Dennis Publishing is launching its news magazine The Week in Australia at the end of next month, a move that has surprised few in the industry.

If the UK market is anything to go by, where the publication posted its 20th consecutive circulation rise last month, global expansion was always on the cards.

Yet it has been seven years since the magazine last launched abroad, expanding from the UK to the US in 2001. It has shown a consistent performance since its launch in 2001 in the US, growing 165% from its base circulation to 500,000, according to the publisher.

The news digest also plans to broaden its footprint further. Kerin O’Connor, executive director at Dennis Publishing, says the next stop is south-east Asia, where it will be looking at opportunities in Hong Kong, Singapore and eventually India.

India will be a logical move for the company, which last week announced a joint venture with Media Transasia India as part of its bid to capitalise on the booming Asian media market.

In April this year, the publisher appointed an agency for the first time to oversee the creation of a new global brand positioning strategy for the magazine (MW April 24). Naked Communications has been briefed to create a marketing campaign to support its launch in Australia. Added to this, O’Connor says it will be looking to increase its overall marketing activity for the brand next year.

“It will be about upping our game a bit more to bring the brand to life and making it bigger. From above-the-line executions to a website – everything is on the table,” O’Connor says.

Economic pressuresDennis Publishing’s renewed marketing focus around the title comes at a time when, despite mounting economic pressures in the wider media world, in the UK The Week announced a 4.5% rise year on year to 150,099, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ figures released for the six months to June.

Launched in 1995 and acquired by Dennis Publishing in 1996, it has become the biggest selling weekly subscription magazine in the UK.

Steve Goodman, Group M trading director, says its success can be attributed to its unique market positioning/ it has no title which it directly competes with.

As a weekly digest of news, current affairs and commentary published in the leading British and foreign press titles, it has carved a comfortable niche in the market, attracting AB and ABC1 readers.

Arena BLM head of press Jo Blake says that as the title capitalises on the fact that society has become more “time poor”, it has a strong chance of success in other markets.

TV news viewers”It’s really tapped into people still wanting to appear that they know what they’re talking about but don’t have time to read the newspaper or watch TV every day,” according to Blake.

In advertising revenue stakes, Goodman says its positioning means it could also potentially steal share from a wide range of print competitors, such as the national newspapers and their supplements as well as business titles such as The Economist.”[The Week] is unique, so it could potentially get on all kinds of schedules,” Goodman adds.

He goes on to say that the fact only a very small proportion of its UK sales are acquired through bulks – with 96.2% of its circulation actively purchased – is a strong selling point to advertisers and their agencies.

When it launched in the UK over ten years ago, O’Connor had then said that if it managed to hit 35,000 in circulation “we would be doing very well”. Today, with 150,099 under its belt, it is expecting that the 50,000 target for Australia is only the beginning.

Camille Alarcon

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