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'WSJ Weekend Edition' gets strong advertiser response

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Advertisers and agencies reacted favorably to the launch of The Wall Street Journal "Weekend Edition," which debuted Sept. 17.

The paper, delivered to 1.75 million subscribers, was the Journal's first Saturday edition in more than 50 years. The Dow Jones & Co. newspaper had published a Saturday edition until 1953, when the New York Stock Exchange stopped Saturday trading.

The "Weekend Edition" provides traditional coverage of Friday's business news, including closing market prices, as well as a new lifestyle section called "Pursuits." The front page is more feature-oriented than that of a typical weekday issue, but there is plenty of hard news coverage inside. The advertising mix in the front section is more heavily consumer.

With Friday's news and markets coverage appearing on Saturday, the Journal has revamped its Monday edition to include analysis of weekend news and provide forward-looking stories. New content includes a "What's Ahead" calendar feature on page 1, new emphasis on management issues in "Marketplace" and a new section in "Money & Investing" providing a summary of key market-moving data and earnings coming out during the week.

Advertiser response was strong, including a new campaign by shipping company DHL Express USA, an ongoing campaign from United Technologies Corp. and new advertising from Lands' End and wine company Penfolds.

"This medium was selected because we are trying to reach decision-makers in their down time," said Karen Jones, VP-advertising, brand and promotions at DHL, which launched its campaign on Sept. 12.

"The readership of the Journal `Weekend Edition' targets the shipping decision-makers when they are reading for pleasure. Just because you are a business person doesn't mean you only read business publications."

Jones said DHL plans to continue advertising in the weekend edition. "We believe it will be a high-profile space for us in a top-notch publication like the Journal that breaks through the clutter and provides a consistent space for messages about customer service each weekend to Journal readers," she said.

Chris Philip, senior VP-media director at Doremus, said the visibility around the launch of the Journal's "Weekend Edition" played into the decision to buy advertising for client United Technologies, an existing Journal advertiser. "We knew everyone would make sure they saw this issue," Philip said.

As for buying more advertising in the "Weekend Edition" for clients, Philip said he would wait to see how the editorial evolves and meets the needs of business readers at home.

"It is an extremely important audience to reach," Philip said. "You're not a senior executive 24 hours a day. You have to be able to switch gears."

Philip pointed to an article about planting fall bulbs that ran in the debut "Weekend Edition." "The editorial talks to a lot of different passion points," he said.

Adam Gross, VP-marketing at Jordan, Edmiston Group, called the launch of "Weekend Edition" "a very good play."

"The `Weekend Journal' section has been a huge success for the newspaper," said Gross, pointing to advertising growth in the 20% range since the launch of the Friday section in 1998. "The other aspect is, the daily flagship Wall Street Journal newspaper has been losing ad dollars for many years. They may be able to bring in a new set of advertisers [with the `Weekend Edition']."

Jill Kaplan, general manager of the "Personal Journal," "The Journal Report" and "Weekend Journal," said the "Weekend Edition" will allow the Journal to break into new categories of advertising including travel, home, retail, liquor and luxury.

"We felt there was a void in the marketplace that we would be able to fill over the weekend for our readers," she said. "There has always been a compelling news argument for publishing on weekends." 

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