Valentin Panayotov: Business Dailies Win Readers via Professionalism

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | September 27, 2002, Friday // 00:00

Valentin Panayotov is General Director of Pari Daily. He is Executive Director of IK PARI AD, publishing the PARI Daily newspaper, the Fondov Pazar Weekly, the three online editions of the company, the monthly edition Pari Boutique and the weekly Pari Plus. Married with two children. Speaks French, English, and Russian.

Valentin Panayotov answered questions of Milena Hristova

Q: Pari Daily has gained a prestigious position on the Bulgarian market. What in its publishing policy contributed the most to this success?

A: The total absence of ad hoc policies in one direction or another. In this way we gained the confidence of the business, of the different powers and of the numerous young people, who believe success is up to them. Through all the years of the transition period - which were also years of maturing for Pari Daily - we posed concrete questions and problems of the real economy, organized discussions, roundtables, encouraged the dialogue between business and the government, so that better solutions are found sooner.

Q: How do the readers of Pari Daily look like in figures in terms of sex, age?

A: Readers of Pari Daily get in touch with us from all over the world. Our online edition and the online bulletin in English considerably expanded Pari Daily readership during the past year. The same trend applies to those who are interested in the printed edition as well. Our latest survey shows that more than 80% of Pari Daily readers think the quality of the newspaper is constantly improving. This opinion is very important to us since some 60% of our readers are actively involved in business activities. 30% of them hold high-ranking positions, some 60% belong to the middle business. About 77% of Pari Daily readers are University graduates according to the survey. It also confirmed a result from other surveys, namely that nearly 40% of our readers are people with high incomes.

To make a long story short - our readers are competent, exacting, well-informed, decision-makers. More than half of them have been following closely the newspaper development over the last years, and 13% - since its first edition. It is not accidental that 93% of them say without hesitation that we provide them with useful information, while 60% contact us for unpublished information.

Q: What is the gain for a reader who prefers the commentaries in Pari Daily to the other dailies?

A: The very figures from surveys on Pari Daily readers speak for themselves. All surveys conducted over the past several years show the readers' approval of the thematic supplements and analytical materials, which are viewed as a trademark of the newspaper. Very often these materials are the reason for the feedback we receive from readers all over the world. It is a curious fact that 94% of our readers like the way journalists write in the newspaper, 91% are happy with the content of the materials and just as many approve of the style and language used. There are few printed editions in Bulgaria, which can boast similar unequivocal approval. And from critical, well-informed and educated readers at that. They really make the winning choice because Pari Daily is the only newspaper in Bulgaria to provide specific economic information.

Until recently we were the only Bulgarian daily to provide info on each stock exchange session and comment the trends. We are still the only daily to publish quotations of the Petroleum Exchange of London and London Metal Exchange. For more than half a year our supplement covers the markets in Bulgaria and abroad. Pari Daily is the only newspaper to offer a whole page on the debt market, on the Bulgarian companies and all currencies.

Along with the currency commentary that we offer on a daily basis and that we established in the Bulgarian press, our readers are also interested in the rates of customs assessments. Our special supplement "Marketing and Management" - unique in the Bulgarian press - is another bonus for our readers. Even before the latest books in this field come out on the market, our journalists have already presented the latest trends and methods in the theory and practice of management, the latest techniques, the most useful conclusions of international surveys and analyses. It was through this supplement that we won a number of students and their teachers as our readers. Managers are just as curious about new business strategies and ways they can tap foreign experience in corporate management.

Q: At the end of June Pari Daily named First Investment Bank Bank of the Year 2002. This was the fourth time that a bank landed the award. How did you come up with the idea about the Bank of the Year award?

A: The ranking Bank of the Year was organized for the first time by Pari Daily and Open Society Foundation back in 1991. The bank-winner was announced in June the next year. The idea for the competition appeared with the birth of Pari Daily itself, reads an article in the issue from that time. This is the second year on the market for the newspaper in A4 format. At that time Pari Daily has its own dollar index. Till its third year Bank of the Year has already gained the recognition of a prestigious award. In 1993 together with Pari Daily the ceremony is hosted by the Association of Trade Banks, Open Society Foundation, Banks, Investments and Money magazine and the "Plus Minus" broadcast on the national TV channel. Then follows a lapse of some six years when the ceremonial evening of the bank Oscars was not organized. This was the time when many other rankings and charts appeared. Bulgaria's financial and political elite gathered together again at a special ceremony in 2001, when Bank of the Year 2000 award was presented. A year ago the jury consisted of seven members. This year we introduced new members together with new criteria, which we presented in public and new modern method of evaluation. It is a fact that those who win and those who do not consider the prize of Pari Daily an honour.

Q: Do you think the competition achieves its goal to encourage the financial institutions in their role of mediators in the economy?

A: We are far from saying that one prize could encourage any financial institution to be more active in its policy or to adopt a particular role. The very award of Pari Daily is a recognition for positions already gained, and a certain type of market behavior. No doubt the prize is important for the bank, its prestige and clients. Every year the prize gives rise to a serious analysis of the banking institutions, so we do our best turn the attention to the conclusions of these analyses, along with the awarding ceremony. The jury, which gives an objective evaluation, includes prominent and respected experts.

Q: Do you think Bulgarian media are professional and objective in covering the political and business events in the country?

A: Yes, if we talk about Pari Daily in particular. This is one of our advantages, as well as the reason why most of our readers regard Pari Daily as a business news daily of experts. The financial news daily does not resort to the sensational and speculative in its effort to attract readers. The financial daily wins its readers via its professionalism and objectivity. In no case however does it mean that the information offered is boring and dull. Those who read Pari Daily every day know this best. Even the politicians, who are always putting the blame on the media and complain they are misunderstood, know this well.

Q: How do you see the development of Pari Daily over the next one or two years?

A: The newspaper's importance to the new generation of managers and all men of enterprise will grow. We do not offer awards and do not promise easy money. The one-time, accidentally gained earnings encourage neither enterprise nor creativity, new type of market or consumer behavior. It is out of the question that in the 21st century one will be able to handle its family or personal incomes without proper economic culture. More and more people will know how to make money here and now. These are the people for whom Pari Daily will be a serious partner. No more than two elements - the development of the pension insurance market and the stock exchange - are enough to show that the information and analyses we offer will prove indispensable in the coming two years.

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