Spectator Business 'making money' from issue one

Spectator publisher Andrew Neil revealed today that new monthly spin-off publication Spectator Business will “wash its face” financially” from issue one.

The controlled circulation title – aimed at high earning London business people – launched this week with a free circulation of 42,000.

Spectator Business is born out of the ashes of weekly magazine The Business, which Press Holdings closed in February after 12 turbulent years and estimated losses of £50 million.

The new title has a full-time editorial staff of four and is edited by Martin Vander Weyer, who also produces the business coverage for The Spectator.

Neil said that the first edition had already attracted £75,000 of advertising and that the second edition was set to equal or surpass that figure.

He said that the launch capital for Spectator Business came entirely from The Spectator’s profits.

And he added that owners, the Barclay Brothers: “Are not taking a penny out of The Spectator for themselves.

“All the money is put back into the company, they are interested in seeing the value of the group grow.”

He said that Spectator Business is “washing its face from edition one” and that from issue two it would be making a financial contribution to the overheads of the rest of the group.

He said: “I don’t think the Sunday Business ever got £75,000 of advertising in one edition.”

Neil said that whereas Press Holdings had intended to grow a magazine group through buying more titles after acquiring The Spectator with the Telegraph titles in 2004 – it now intended to grow through a “brand extension strategy”.

If Spectator Business works, he said, new spin-off magazines may be launched such as Spectator Arts, Style and Travel and Food and Drink.

He revealed that he has already been to India with a view to launching The Spectator there but said that the plan had been scuppered by regulatory rules which stop foreigners owning more than 25 per cent of a news and current affairs title in the country.

Talks are, however, planned with the South China Morning Post over a possible joint venture to launch a Spectator title in Hong Kong.

At a briefing for journalists today Neil also revealed that two years ago he had sought to buy left of centre intellectual magazine Prospect for Press Holdings but failed because the price asked was too high.

He said: “If we had got Prospect here we wouldn’t have touched the editorial. We almost did a deal with Mr Coombs but he had an idea that the value of the magazine was based on what he had lost over the years.

“If we had bought it we could see profits of £300,000 by year three.”

This week two wealthy financiers bought out the 40 per cent stake held by Prospect chairman and largest shareholder Derek Coombs.

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