When Central European Media and Publishing Co. (CEMP) sold business daily Napi Gazdaság to economic think tank and research center Századvég Gazdaságkutató in August, some observers were quite concerned, as the organization is known to have close ties to current ruling party Fidesz. The newspaper’s newly appointed editor-in-chief György Barcza and managing director Péter Keresztesi spoke to BBJ about their company’s plans and vision for the mainstay going forward.
György Barcza, a leading analyst at Századvég and former analyst of ING and K&H Bank, was appointed as new editor-in-chief of Napi Gazdaság after completion of the transaction. Two days after his appointment, Barcza detailed his vision for the new acquisition on the pages of Napi.hu. According to his introductory article, he’d like to follow up the events of the ongoing economic crisis as a whole and in detail as well, besides meeting the business daily’s role to provide relevant information as completely as can be.
“I am confident that we will succeed in winning economic and political leaders to express their opinion of possible scenarios for the future on these pages,” Barcza wrote, “Hungary has chosen a different path in crisis management from the general route. The development of economic processes is even more exciting now.”
Buying newspapers is not exactly a lucrative business nowadays, at least from the point of view of the number of copies sold. But the management sees more opportunity in the transaction than danger: “Századvég is a profit-oriented enterprise and its intent is to continuously increase its market presence and turnover,” Péter Keresztesi, newly appointed managing director of Napi Gazdaság Kiadó Kft, told Budapest Business Journal.
“A roughly balanced financial newspaper that leads the readership statistics seems an interesting investment target. The new owner would like to see profit, of course, in the mid- or long-term, but when an economic think tank and a business daily meet, there are many synergies, both parties can benefit,” he added.
Keresztesi also shared his outlook about the future of the 20-year-old business daily: “We don’t want to abolish anything that is working well, but we’d like to see a more modern, more informative newspaper with new sections, new content and a cleaner than current layout,” he said, pointing out international examples such as the Financial Times. The analogy cannot be coincidence, as the layout, design and color scheme of Napi are already very similar to those of the benchmark newspaper.
“Content is given based on the accumulated know-how of two decades in the newspaper and the existing research background at Századvég Gazdaságkutató, but we will try to take advantage of our domestic and foreign relations as well,” Keresztesi said, emphasizing the new owner’s expectation for credibility, professionalism and the rapid increase in the number of subscribers and readers. “We’d like to offer exclusive information and a deeper insight to our readers and in connection with major events, we will react quickly and give voice to decision-makers.”
But readers might be a little bit confused, as the news site Napi.hu remains in possession of CEMP, while Századvég creates a new website, Napi Gazdaság Online, for its own purposes. However, the ownership separation of print and online media is not without precedent in Hungary: In spring 2011, Word Communications bought the weekly magazine Figyelő from Sanoma, but the former owner kept the publishing rights of FigyelőNet FN.hu.