Friday, 25 January 2008

Getting a handle on who reads the International Herald Tribune

After a month or so or looking once a day at the International Herald Tribune's presence in the blogosphere, the following quote from a blog is unusual:

I’ve been subscribing to the International Herald Tribune (IHT) for about 2 years now. I really enjoy getting it in my mailbox Monday-Saturday, but I have to admit that I don’t always find or take the time to read it in detail. Nonetheless, it just feels good having a solid, hard-copy, newspaper laying around the house. The IHT has a good variety of articles and always makes for an interesting read, especially the ‘Views’ section (editorials and commentary). It’s just a great way to keep up with the latest dealings of the world.

From Jake's Word Count

I post this banal quote, not knowing who Jake is, because his post is unusual, because, of the 250-300 bloggers who quote the IHT in a 24 period (about the same number for the FT, many more for the NYT and WSJ, which is more of a reflection of the number of bloggers in the U.S.A ), very few of display any signs of a brand relationship with the IHT; it's extremely rare to find people writing about the IHT outside of the media analyst/critic world, or the right wing nuts who say the NYT/IHT has destroyed American culture or the left who say it is a slave of corporatist interests - that and the too pro-Israel gang and the too pro-Palestine gang, but they've been around in the letters pages long before blogging.

Mostly the bloggers are environmental, technology, celebrity and sports fanatics who appear to have an extremely libertine relationship with the IHT. A great deal of what they pick up on is AP feed.

Apart from a reader complaining about a price increase and a very excited reader in Japan receiving their first IHT bill (American) the above comment is about as personal as it has got in the last month.

One searches on the Internet in all sorts of ways for actual IHT regular readers, but they not easy to find. Try putting together a reader endorsement campaign and it's virtually impossible. (Compare how easy the almost never ending FAZ reader endorsement campaign was.)

The print subscription list holds the only truth and if I had a spare bit of marketing cash I would get a tele-marketing firm to find out who they are (nationality, age, occupation). The NYT holds terrific data on its readers, the IHT really very little. But a quantitative analsysis of the subscriber lists has never been done, to my knowledge, even though the names, company names and often phone and email numbers of the subscribers are sitting on the subscriber data base.

The NYT spent what was rumoured to be a million dollars on qualitative reader research when it took over (and found out that, no, it wouldn't be a good idea to throw out the IHT brand equity). They should spend the same on quantitative research now, just so they understand what it is they have in their hands.

Until someone can show me otherwise, my long-held view is that the core readership of the IHT is extremely small and getting on for half of newsstand sales are Americans or people with a specific relationship with the USA.

The reason the IHT business readers don't show up on the business reader surveys is either because they simply are not there, OR, they are mega-rich fashion/celebrity. hedge fund, private banking, sovereign wealth fund types who aren't going to take the time to take part in a reader survey, even if they could be found.

So if you know someone that we would all know of, who is a dedicated and loyal IHT reader, or if you are one yourself, please post here.

Only criteria are that you must not be American and you must be under 65.

If you're an IHT journalist at Davos, please try and snap famous MOU clutching or reading the IHT (and not with FT or WSJ under other arm).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Not an IHT reader, but found your entry googling "IHT" and "right wing" - was told to read the IHT by a colleague and wasn't sure of the demograpic the paper generally attracts nor of the editorship behind its "independent" status - so your entry has addressed a few questions and raised many more for me.