Sometimes it’s not what the media says that matters, but how it acts that’s the real story.

Case in point is the decision of City AM, London’s free ‘daily’ financial newspaper, to cut its Friday print edition. If there’s a sign that the white-collar working week has changed for good it’s that.

There’s no point standing outside Tube stations with bundles of newsprint when there’s no-one, or hardly anyone, to give them away to. As editor Andy Silvester says: “As anybody can tell from the pubs and bars of the City, Thursday is the new Friday. With the world changing, and more people working from home on Fridays, it’s the smart move to focus on serving our readers online rather than in print.”

City AM would now create new digital products for Fridays to fill the gap, he added, including an expanded ‘lifestyle’ section. Yes, the world continues to go digital, and that includes how it consumes its news - and especially when working from home

The public is also keen on ‘lifestyle’ as well as digital, it appears, especially when it comes with a touch of indulgence. Another growing trend in the world of media has been the expansion in ‘luxury’ magazines and websites.

Nothing is recession-proof, but if anything comes close in media land, it could be luxury titles targeting high-end advertisers and an audience more insulated from the economic cycle. With the cost of living crisis already underway back in November, The Times created a dedicated luxury channel on its website citing significant demand from both advertisers and readers.

Its existing luxury magazine Luxx was reported to be doing “commercially incredibly well” before the move to digital, which apparently has gone equally well. Victoria Trimmer, client director – fashion and luxury at The Times told media publication Press Gazette: “Clients have fed back that they feel our investment around luxury comes at a perfect time for them.” Luxury as a commercial category at The Times “has been performing very well” and they are “continuing to see growth,” she adds.

Perfect time? Growth? It’s a different world - and so it is. The truth is the cost-of-living crisis isn’t hitting everyone the same, and people with money are spending - on lifestyle, on experience and on eating and drinking out. The latest trading figures for Christmas and January coming from the country’s restaurant and pub groups bear that out.

And it’s the more upscale offers that appear to be doing best. It’s not just the filthy rich that are spending, but younger, metropolitan types too. Try getting a restaurant reservation in London on a Thursday night - yes Thursday is definitely the big night out. The public isn’t trading down in a linear way. If they are saving they appear to be cutting out the run-of-the-mill rather than their quality experiences.

And it’s not just London, ask Hawksmoor and Gaucho how their new openings in Liverpool are doing. I have, and they’re storming it.

Quality may be winning, but ostentation may be being toned down, at least a little. Back in media world it’s interesting to see that the FT’s How To Spend It supplement has been rebranded as HTSI – allowing the ‘S’ to mean anything the reader wants - perhaps style, savour or even save.

Another trend that will resonate with the likes of Hawksmoor and M Restaurants is what another upmarket media brand, Elite Traveller, calls the shift to ‘responsible luxury’. Back in 2021 editor-in-chief Alex Martin told readers: “Our in-house research has shown us that the majority of our readers consider environmental and social issues as hugely important. You want to spend your money where it will do the most good, or at the very least do no harm.”

The lesson for the eating and drinking out market is that demand is still very much there for a quality experience – and the further up the price range sustainable too. The trick is in understanding and effectively reaching the customers with money still to spend - staying close to them and increasingly communicating with them digitally. Mass market (or spray and pray as we used to call it) is fine, but targeting is really what it’s all about.

It’s also about being willing and able to adapt. Digital migration, new ways of city working, plus a rail strike or two, will all have contributed to the hefty 25% drop in City AM’s paper circulation in December. Consumers are changing habits - and London in particular is changing too. City AM has acted swiftly to the new reality, cutting where it needs to and hoping it has created something different, but just as relevant.

Perhaps another important lesson for us all is to have a glance at other business sectors occasionally to see how they are changing - and to see if there are things to learn, or just be reassured about. The media is good example, and it really does pay to read between the lines.