Saturday, 8 December 2007

IHT Readers - Who Are You?

The worldwide circulation of the International Herald Tribune is about 242,000 last time I checked. What that means in readership is another question altogether, one that advertisers are always trying to work out, or rather, what their agencies are posturing at working out to justify their media buying fees.

The core readers of the IHT are the subscribers to the print edition, and daily visitors to

Both of those figures are kept carefully under wraps, probably because the numbers are rather low.

Back in 2000 the IHT had about 30,000 subscribers in the EMEA region. What we knew about these people then, other than their address and whether they were a student or not, was next to nothing.

A good chunk of that number was made up by the must-have subscription camp: embassies, large company reception areas, libraries, PR agencies and the like where the subscription wasn't so much for a reader but for a group of people who may or may not read the paper.

Another good chunk were free copies (of which I am, at least for now, still a beneficiary), mostly for employees, advertising agencies, clients and potential clients.

If we assumed about one third went to expatriate Americans, many of them retired, we were getting down to pretty low numbers.

My best guess is that the core subscriber readership of the IHT's print edition in the EMEA region, students, 'frees' and 'must have' corporate buys and American expats excluded, is around 7,000-10,000 people, very possibly less. If someone showed me data that revealed there were as few as 5,000 subcribers outside of the above mentioned categories I wouldn't fall off my chair in shock.

That's obviously not a figure anyone wants to investigate too closely, and certainly not share with the advertising community.

As to who these people are, leaving aside the conclusions of numerous readership surveys out there (which are pretty much worthless for reasons I might get into another time), is any one's guess.

I have a few ideas as to how we might find out, without any help from access to IHT internal data, and I hope to post on that in the coming days.

No comments: