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'WSJ' returns to Saturdays

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Dow Jones & Co.'s The Wall Street Journal announced last month that it will publish on the weekend beginning Sept. 10 of next year. The Journal hasn't published on the weekend since the New York Stock Exchange discontinued Saturday trading in 1953.

The reason for the Journal's new "Weekend Edition"? It's simple: money. As Peter R. Kann, Dow Jones chairman-CEO explained, "The Wall Street Journal `Weekend Edition' represents a significant profitable growth opportunity for Dow Jones and the Journal."

The Journal's weekend version will include business news, Friday's stock charts and a new section, "Pursuits," which is in the same vein as the newspaper's "Weekend Journal" and "Personal Journal" sections. And, of course, the Saturday edition will also contain advertising pages that Dow Jones assumes will not cannibalize revenue from the Monday-through-Friday issues.

"Weekend Edition" will be delivered on Saturdays at no additional charge to all Journal subscribers. It will also be sold at newsstands. Subscribers will have the option of providing a separate address for weekend delivery; currently, 67% of Wall Street Journal subscribers receive their copy each day at home, according to Dow Jones.

Many observers believe this is an overdue move by Dow Jones. "The financial markets are so integrated into our society-particularly for the baby boomers, who are approaching their earning years and retirement years-the flow of this kind of financial information is vital," said Roland DeSilva, managing partner of media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips.

Although the Journal remains perhaps the most respected brand in business journalism, it has not been the money machine it once was for Dow Jones. In 2000, Dow Jones reported annual U.S. ad revenue, most of which the Journal generated, of $1.1 billion. By 2003, that figure had fallen more than 48% to $570.4 million.

The launch of "Weekend Edition" next year is only the latest in a series of moves designed to boost revenue and cut costs. Dow Jones has made a concerted effort to sell integrated marketing packages that link the Journal and other properties such as The Wall Street Journal Radio Network. Additionally, Dow Jones' Total Journal package encouraged marketers to buy both the print and online versions of the publication.

The Journal's "Weekend Edition" is also another in a series of moves to court more consumer advertisers. Looking for new sources of ad pages has been a necessity, because two of the newspaper's key advertising categories-technology and b-to-b-have been battered by the lingering advertising slump.

Additionally, the "Weekend Edition" is a clear acknowledgement by the newspaper that business news doesn't take the weekend off. The Journal Online, of course, posts news 24/7, and the print Journal's direct competitor, the Financial Times, has had a weekend issue and will be increasing the U.S. frequency of its glossy magazine, How To Spend It, from quarterly to monthly.

Dow Jones, of course, already has a publication delivered on Saturday, largely to home addresses: Barron's. Gary Holland, the magazine's publisher, said the parent company remains bullish on Barron's and will invest in a redesign of the publication for "early next year."

Holland said Barron's will remain different-"more in-depth, more opinionated"-than the Journal, even on Saturday. "On the advertising side, the main thrust of the `Weekend Journal' will be consumer goods-a category that the Journal has been building on quite well. We, too, will continue to maintain and surpass our current position as the most important financial weekly," he said. M

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