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'BARRON'S' THINKS YOUNGER REDESIGN'S GOAL TO LURE A NEW GENERATION OF READERS

By Published on .

Barron's, coming off a year of solid growth but seeking to expand its audience, will unveil a major redesign in March.

Dow Jones & Co. wants to lure a younger generation of readers that may have been turned off by the business weekly's overwhelming array of financial statistics and stock tables.

The most significant aspect of the revamp, from designers Walter Bernard and Milton Glaser, is the repackaging of all statistical charts and columns in a "Market Week" center pullout section.

"Our focus groups indicated that many people who hadn't been reading Barron's had some experience with it but found it kind of bewildering," said Editor James Meagher. "We can make it more accessible to those people."

The changes take effect with the March 7 issue and will be supported by increased TV, radio and print ad spending in major cities via Angotti, Thomas, Hedge, New York.

Mr. Meagher said the decision to change the design was made two years ago but was delayed by a switch in editors. Mr. Meagher succeeded Alan Abelson as editor in March 1993; Mr. Abelson continues to write the newspaper's popular "Up & Down Wall Street" column.

With the redesign, however, Mr. Abelson's column will be moved off the front page after more than a decade in that slot to allow a more conventional magazinelike cover. The column will still anchor each issue as the first editorial feature.

Among other changes, Barron's has eliminated jumps of stories from the front to the back of the issue, added several columns and features, expanded coverage of mutual funds and revived a book review section. The overall layout is cleaner.

Publisher Robert Paradise said that unlike many publications, the Barron's redesign wasn't prompted by weakness on the ad or circulation fronts. Ad pages for 1993 totaled 1,656, a 7% gain from the previous year, while cir culation for the six months ended Dec. 31 reached 262,702, up 7.2%.

"With the redesign, 1994 could be our best year ever" in profits, Mr. Paradise said. "This is a ma jor change and, without a doubt, the biggest single change this publication has ever had."

The redesign does come as the personal finance publication category is booming. SmartMoney, a joint venture of Dow Jones and Hearst Magazines, is growing rapidly, and competitors like Money, Worth and Kiplinger's Personal Finance are also on the rise. Barron's isn't directly in that fray because of its weekly frequency and its appeal to more sophisticated investors.

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