When news that Times Media had lost the licence to publish Stuff magazine broke, the media group was quick to reassure its audience that it wouldn’t waste much time in launching another title into that upmarket (mostly) male market.
Sure enough, just as the country went back to work after the post-Mangaung holiday break, a press release was circulated announcing the launch of Business Class, described as a “high-quality leisure read that adds value for Business Times’ high-income, sought-after subscribers, and an opportunity for advertisers to engage with them”.
Times Media (formerly Avusa) has a solid history of launching titles on the back of a strong subscriber base. There’s The Times newspaper that goes free to Sunday Times subscribers (as well as being sold on newsstands); and there’s the sexy Wanted, enjoyed by Business Day subscribers but sadly not available as a stand-alone title.
Business Class, like Wanted, will be a large format magazine, says editor Charles Boffard. It is aimed at men in a high-income bracket and LSM. “In terms of distribution of the magazine we are targeting metropolitan areas with suburbs that reflect the income bracket and LSMs that we are targeting,” he says. That means it will be delivered free to 70 000 selected subscribers of the Sunday Times Business Times in LSM 9 and 10 areas.
The content will massage the touch points of that subscriber base. “Business Class readers are very brand-aware, they want to know about fashion and style and the latest technology. They’re interested in success and living the good life they’ve earned. In Business Class they’ll want to read about the successes and challenges of their peers and of people they admire in business, in public life and in sport – the mavericks and game-changers who are making a difference. This magazine is about quality – who’s achieving it, how to recognise it and where to find it – and readers will expect quality writing from the likes of South Africa’s leading motoring writer, Alex Parker,” Boffard told The Media Online.
“It’s also about relaxation and indulgence, and we’ll offer readers news and in-depth coverage on cars, technology, fashion and personal style, travel and entertainment. Business Class will cover these interests in greater depth than most lifestyle publications, with authoritative expert reviews supplemented by real users’ experiences, advice on how to choose and get the most from products, and buyers’ guides.”
Business Class is not just about building a brand, but also about making money. Just like its readers. “Readers and advertisers will also enjoy the visual impact and product display of Business Class’s large-format pages,” says Boffard. “Our coverage of fashion, travel and entertainment is targeted precisely for our high-achieving, high-earning, reader with a median age in the mid-thirties: quality designer business and leisure wear, useful information for business travel, guides to the whiskies, wines and entertainments he enjoys at home and out on the town.”
Already the advertising sales team, headed by Madeleine Stoltz, formerly advertising director of GQ and sales manager at CNBC, have hit the road for a series of road shows in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. “We have a very strong proposition,” Stoltz says. “With a defined demographic, we know who we’re speaking to. Our circulation’s already there. It will be the highest quality reach of any men’s magazine – and it’s guaranteed.”
The road show is an opportunity for the team to discuss in greater depth the title and where it sits in the media landscape. Presentations show (through AMPS research) the power of the target market and why they are an audience potential advertisers should be communicating with through Business Class. They’re Business Times readers, and the ad sales team are using the profile of the Business Times reader to attract high-end advertising.
Times Media says its research (SABRE 2012) has shown these readers are business decision makers who’ve arrived – 51% are in top/senior management, 47% earn over R60 000 per month – and who aren’t currently reached in significant numbers by other magazines.”
At this point there are no plans to sell it as a stand alone, but non-subscribers will be able to access it online in an e-zine format that will be available a week after the magazine has appeared in print. It will also use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.