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No. 1 Wall Street Journal

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Gordon L. Crovitz, president of Dow Jones Consumer Media Group and publisher of The Wall Street Journal , offers a reminder of the role the print Journal will continue to play despite the growing migration of ad dollars to the Web.

"In the digital age, there is a critically important role for newspapers that can't be replicated in any other way," he said. "People will continue to look to the Journal for perspective."

Media buyers agree. "The Journal has a very desirable and loyal readership, and great business coverage that runs the gamut," said Bryan Jackson, director of newspaper investment at ad agency OMD, whose clients include Cingular Wireless and Visa International. He added that the Journal remains one of the strongest media vehicles for targeting the elusive C-suite.

According to the Purchase Influence in American Business Survey (2004-2005), conducted by Erdos & Morgan, the Journal reaches 51% of all C-suite executives.

Although the Journal and WSJ.com each has its own appeal, in the current media climate there is definitely strength in numbers. Indeed, the centerpiece of a major reorganization at Dow Jones, announced earlier this year, combined the publisher's print and online ad sales staffs.

"Part of the Journal's reorganization was to help us help b-to-b advertisers be better," Crovitz said. "We can now provide 14 million users in the aggregate, which is the largest number we've ever been able to serve. Previously, it would have been, say, just the 1.8 million subscribers to the Journal or the 800,000 users we have online."

Crovitz added: "What advertisers have come to increasingly understand is whether it's advertising online or offline, much of the value to the advertiser is the engagement of the audience: people who are loyal to the product, who trust it and view it as a domain."

The Journal remains a must-read for almost any business executive. But Dow Jones is hardly content to let the brand rest on its laurels and continues to make changes to both the print and online products.

For example, WSJ.com, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary as the largest paid subscription Web site, recently underwent its first significant redesign since 2002. The changes included enhanced personalization features; the addition of "Washington Wire," a daily update on politics and policy; LiveNews, which provides readers with automatic, constant updates; and a legal industry blog, the first of what's expected to be many such vertical market additions.

Last September, the print Journal launched Weekend Edition, an effort to appeal to more lifestyle advertisers. With Weekend Edition, Dow Jones hopes to make the newspaper less dependent on financial and technology advertisers.

In the first quarter of this year, Dow Jones reported net income of $61.5 million, up from $8.18 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 9.7% to $452.2 million, from $412.1 million in the year-earlier period. What's more, the Journal's print edition posted a 17.9% gain in revenue. Dow Jones' online ad revenue increased 26% from last year's first quarter.

-Matthew Schwartz

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