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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 April, 2003, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Fading FT pins hopes on revamp
The current FT has a staid image
Blazing the slogan "New FT, new comment", media group Pearson is hoping to breathe new life into the financial world's best-known newspaper.

A 3m ($4.8m) marketing campaign has been launched to promote what its publishers hope will be a radical change of image for the Financial Times.

The FT has been hit by the worst advertising slump since the 1970s, and is having trouble competing for business readers against mainstream papers.

The revamp, which could affect everything but the distinctive pink colour of the newsprint, will take place during this weekend.

Pink power

Over the past few years, non-specialist newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and Times have muscled in on the FT's City readership.

The increasing penetration of the internet has also made detailed financial data - long the FT's key selling point - far more freely available.

Now, this weekend's changes - which only affect its UK edition - aim to help the FT fight back, by making it a more well-rounded paper, with more coverage of general news and leisure.

There will reportedly be a new weekend magazine, and increased sports coverage during the week.

Risky business

A drive further into the mainstream market is a brave move for the FT, which has won plaudits for the quality of its general news reporting.

But it is also a financial risk, at a time when advertising revenues show no sign of picking up.

More importantly, the overall UK newspaper readership has started to shrink, as younger consumers lose the newsprint habit.

Established mainstream newspapers are hitting hard times, and even the market-leading Telegraph has dipped below 1 million readers.

Nor is it clear that the FT could broaden its appeal to non-business readers.

In the US, the Wall Street Journal has a wide readership, but at least partly by virtue of the relative lack of serious national newspapers on the local market.

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