Goin' global

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Pearson plc's Financial Times has made a number of moves in recent months emphasizing the newspaper's global coverage.

FT Tilt is a recently launched premium online financial news and analysis service covering emerging markets. Aimed at finance and business professionals, FT Tilt is led by Editor in Chief Paul Murphy, who was part of the team that created the financial blog FT Alphaville.

Additionally, FT recently introduced Brazil Confidential, a subscription-only website focused on the booming South American economic giant. It followed the earlier launch of China Confidential, and it's not difficult to imagine the newspaper expanding the franchise to include the two other BRIC nations, Russia and India.

“The key underlying theme over the past decade has been the quite extraordinary shift in economic power, which is moving south and east,” Murphy said. “We at the FT, we're already an international business newspaper. But we decided a year ago we need to tilt our coverage. You've had this huge shift in wealth, and it struck us across Western business media generally, that shift really hasn't been acknowledged.”

FT is not alone in expanding its global coverage, as other major business media companies have announced international initiatives this year:

  • Dow Jones & Co. plans to launch a real-time information service covering currency trading called DJ FX Trader. Aimed at foreign exchange market participants, the service will combine information from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal, plus technology from Dow Jones' financial markets business.
  • Reuters this month began distributing China Central Television's content to more than 700 broadcasters in the U.S. Political, economic, cultural and sports content is included in the deal.
  • Bloomberg held a Bloomberg China Investment Strategies conference this month in New York.
  • McGraw-Hill Cos. is working with Wipro to develop mConnect, a mobile learning platform to help students and workers in India prepare for university entrance exams and English-language training. The companies intend to expand the service to elsewhere in Asia, as well as Africa.

“What we're seeing with these particular offerings is these companies trying to leverage their coverage and their technology to expand their global footprint,” said Elizabeth Mason, director-lead analyst at Outsell Inc.

FT Tilt may be the most interesting of these ventures. Intended to cover Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia, the FT Tilt site is a cross between a blog and a newswire.

Stories written in a blog style with headlines such as “Ivory Coast crisis watch” and “Korea boosts Brazil investments by 700 percent” appear on FT Tilt every few minutes. Readers can use a filtering system to help ensure they get content about topics that interest them.

Additionally, Tilt Populi adds community to the mix and offers posts from FT Tilt members, who are approved by FT Tilt to help ensure worthwhile conversation. Advertisers also can pay for the privilege of posting clearly marked content on the site that reaches targeted users.

Ken Doctor, analyst for Outsell, said the move to international coverage by business media companies makes sense, because that's where U.S. conglomerates are investing and want to reach new customers. “Growth for basically all major American corporations has been focused on non-U.S. areas,” Doctor said. “It's a long-term process, and what's happened with the recession is that it's been accelerated.”

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