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Media Power 50: WSJ continues to make gains in challenging print environment

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Boosted by its strong content and loyal business readership, The Wall Street Journal continued its robust performance in a challenging market—showing significant gains in circulation while it launched new print products and expanded content offerings across multiple platforms. “Our priorities were to continue to reinforce the strength of our print product with our advertisers in a challenging print marketplace,” said Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer at the Journal. The Journal had total average circulation of 2.4 million in March, up 12.3% over the same period last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. “I certainly look at The Wall Street Journal print version as something that makes a statement,” said Terrance McDermott, media director at b-to-b agency Slack & Co., Chicago. “For a broad business audience, an ad in The Wall Street Journal says, "These folks are serious. They have something they want me to pay attention to.' It sends a loud, clear message.” Slack & Co. ran print ad campaigns in the Journal last year for two clients: office products company Fellowes Inc. and the Society of Actuaries. “Both clients were very happy with the campaigns, and both clients heard from their broad constituents that they loved seeing the ads,” McDermott said. Rooney said that at a time when other print publications are declining, the Journal continued to expand its content and offerings. In October, it debuted Mansion, a stand-alone section covering high-end real estate. Charter advertisers included Coldwell Banker, Extell Development Co., New York Design Center and Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates. Also in October, the Journal relaunched its Friday Journal section as Arena, covering arts, culture, entertainment and sports. “We have expanded into lifestyle, sports and other things to become a complete newspaper at a time when other newspapers are shrinking,” Rooney said. In March, the Journal launched WSJ.Money, a glossy, quarterly magazine focused on personal finance and wealth management. And it continued to grow WSJ.Magazine, which debuted as a quarterly magazine in September 2008. The magazine had a 27% increase in ad pages last year over 2011 and increased its frequency to 10 issues a year. This year it will publish 11 issues and will move to a monthly schedule in 2014. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network—which includes All-thingsd.com, Barrons.com, Marketwatch.com, SmartMoney.-com and WSJ.com—has more than 1.3 million paid digital subscribers. On WSJ.com alone, digital circulation topped 898,000 in March, up 62% over March 2012. “As for WSJ.com, there are several offerings, from a media planner-buyer perspective, that I like,” said Ted Kohnen, CMO at b-to-b agency Stein IAS, New York. “No. 1 is the function-specific content that they have created. So if I want to target CIOs, advertising on WSJ's CIO Journal is a perfect fit. I get a tradelike-publication focus with the traffic volume of a general-business property.” Kohnen added, “No. 2 is their ad targeting ability. Being able to target by segment—job title, company size, etc.—really helps my campaign be budget-efficient.” The Journal also boosted its online video last year. WSJ Live added 18 new video platforms and increased live video streams by 370% over the previous year.
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