The Wall Street Journal plans to launch a separate online version of its popular "Weekend Journal" lifestyle section. Unlike its subscriber fee-based WSJ.com Web site, the newspaper's new venture is likely to be free and rely on ad revenue.
The "Weekend Journal"--which appears Fridays and covers leisure pursuits such as film, wine, sports and travel--has proved a hit with advertisers, said Scott Schulman, VP-strategic planning at the Journal's parent company, Dow Jones & Co. "So we're trying to figure out how to convert that to the Web."
The section's lifestyle sweep has enabled the Journal to attract advertisers far from its business and technology mainstays. "It's allowed them to get into the entertainment category--though they're not getting a lot," as well as "a lot more real estate advertising," said Lauren Fine, an analyst for Merrill Lynch & Co. It has also attracted premium style and lifestyle advertisers such as Giorgio Armani, Chanel and Riedel Crystal of America.
The "Weekend Journal" first appeared on March 20, 1998.
Few other specifics on the new Web site--including timetable--are available. The Journal has registered the domain name weekendjournal.com, and has drafted Bill Grueskin, a Journal senior editor who moved over from deputy Page One editor duties in June, to oversee the site and other potential Journal Web ventures.
"There's not much I can say at this point," Mr. Grueskin said. "A number of possibilities are under way."
"I can't tell you anything right now," said Joanne Lipman, editor of the "Weekend Journal." But, she added, "obviously, it makes a lot of sense."
The prospect of a "Weekend Journal" site had been mentioned by Gordon Crovitz, senior VP-electronic publishing for Dow Jones, at this June's Mid-Year Media Review conference in New York.
WINE ALREADY ONLINE
One prominent component of the "Weekend Journal," the wine column penned by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, went online at Wine.WSJ.com on June 29. It, too, is a free site, and ultimately, Mr. Schulman said, "will be a section within [weekendjournal.com] and also a stand-alone site."
Though its main site--which, according to the company, now has 460,000 subscribers--garners the most attention, the Journal has rolled out a series of free Journal-branded sites. Most recently, Opinion Journal launched on July 28 as an online companion to the daily's editorial pages.
In the fall, the company will roll its business news site (dowjones.com) into Work.com, its joint venture site with search engine Excite targeting small and midsize businesses.
The main Wall Street Journal site, WSJ.com, charges users $59 a year--$29 if they subscribe to the print editions of the Journal or Barron's. In 1999, WSJ.com grossed $31 million in revenue.
"The overall strategy is to build a portfolio of Wall Street Journal sites that complement and supplement our subscription products and find new Web users who maybe haven't discovered Wall Street Journal content," Mr. Schulman said.
Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.