El Pais, Spain’s leading newspaper selling more than 360,000 copies a day, spotlighted Euro Weekly News and the publishers Michel and Steven Euesden in a feature in the national section of its best-selling Sunday edition. Here are extracts from the John Carlin interview which also appeared on the Madrid-based publication’s internationally-read website.
PEOPLE earning a living from newspapers live with the absurd knowledge that the more readers they have, frequently the less they earn. Discovering a newspaper that earns money in the Western World is, it seems, harder than finding an admired politician in Spain. But without intending to, I found one on the industrial estate in Benalmádena on the Costa del Sol.
Distributed free, written in English and published weekly, since 2007 while the remainder of Europe has plunged into economic crisis, the Euro Weekly News (EWN) has increased pagination from 64 to 120 (in Costa del Sol). Income – entirely from advertising – has risen and while five years ago EWN published four separate editions each week, it now produces six (with a total pagination of approximately 450).
EWN owners Michel and Steven Euesden, aged 50 and 52 respectively, are proud of their working-class backgrounds with Michel’s undiluted energy and Steven’s mature and more reserved approach. Michel – blonde, slim, high heels and with the longest nails in the world (painted blue and white) – involves herself mainly in daily management, admini-stration and editorial.
Steven takes care of the advertising and the sales teams. What is the secret of their undisputed success? “Passion and energy,” says Michel. “We work seven days a week.” Anything more? “We are permanently in touch with clients and we know how to adapt to what the market wants.” They produce ‘tapas’ journalism with few long stories ‘unlike Spanish newspapers’, and articles on a wide range of topics from bank scams to foreign pensioners, jellyfish beach invasions to new restaurant openings.
There is financial advice and the latest on the Spanish royal family, plus recipes for slimming or advice on spicing up life. In addition to plenty of news and features, there is also wide- ranging advertising. “When our competitors were paying dividends during the boom years, we were investing. Today practically all of them have gone.”
Is there a lesson here, not just for other newspapers but for the rest of the business community? Diego Spadoni, an Italian who has lived in Spain for 20 years and owns the Sol y Miel Hotel near the EWN headquarters, says so. This year he has lowered prices, turnover is down and clients are not staying for as long, but even so he expects this month (August) to show 90 per cent occupation.
“The great present need is to be more professional, have more initiative and connect better with clients. You have to work longer hours and watch costs,” he said. “People who don’t know what to do, open a bar. A Spanish classic,” says Spadoni. Super-professional Dani Garcia agrees that opening a bar is no longer a good idea. “The sector is saturated,” says the Marbella restaurateur whose establishment – Calima – has two Michelin stars.
He has succeeded because he describes Marbella as ‘a protected bubble’, with a flow of rich, foreign clients compensating for the fall in national tourism.
Additionally, Garcia empha-sises the importance of attention to detail, as ongoing plans will see him open a New York restaurant in November. But for every winner there is a loser. Some four-star hotels in Benalmádena are offering rooms for €20, less than half of the price Spadoni charges at the two-star Sol y Miel.
Tourism is supposedly buoyant in Spain and has increased since last year. “If the least affected sector in Spain is the way it is now, what must the rest be like?” Spadoni asks. So what about publishing, where lay-offs are frequent nowadays and the outlook appears grim? Strangely, the greatest problem for the audacious Euesdens is the lack of first- class staff. “They must speak English, naturally, as well as Spanish. We are desperately looking not just for journalists and salespeople but also bloggers and people with computer expertise,” says Michel. “Help us to find them. Please!”
Artes Gráficas del Mediterráneo – Congratulations
Once again, from Artes Graficas del Mediterraneo, we would like to congratulate the EWN on its publishing and especially to Michel & Steven Euesden, as the owners of six editions of the Euro Weekly News. They have been known to consolidate these publications during a national economic situation, which is causing numerous closures amongst other publishing companies. This just goes to show their enormous professionality, their strength and constant determination to obtain results.
The significance of these entrepreneurs is so much so that their work is not lost on anybody, as recently the El Pais published an article in their society section about “rentable business” which showed off their work.
We also congratulate them, for having contributed, from our modest input at the printing centre, to the constant growth of this publication, which we have been observing since the beginning, with the weekly printing of these quality and professional products.
Our sincere congratulations.
Manuel García – Director of Artes Gráficas del Mediteráneo.
You can see the original text and comments on http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/2012/08/24/actualidad/1345811965_297350.html