Media Power 50: No. 1 The Wall Street Journal

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The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Co.'s flagship newspaper, appears on the surface to be an icon, an unchanging institution. But the reality is that the newspaper has undergone numerous changes in the past decade. These include:
  • Launching Wall Street Journal Online in 1996. The paid subscription site now has 712,000 subscribers.
  • Debuting the "Weekend Journal" section in 1998 and "Personal Journal" in 2002.
  • Adding color and new capacity for editorial and advertising in 2002.

Later this year, the newspaper will begin Saturday home delivery of a new "Weekend Edition." "For advertisers, they're going to have a new place to speak to the same powerful and affluent purchasers and decision-makers that they previously reached in the Monday through Friday paper," said Judy Barry, the Journal's senior VP-sales and marketing. "Now they can reach them on the weekend, which is a different kind of mind-set."

Amid the changes of the past several years, the "What's News" column on the Journal's front page remains required morning reading for business people in every industry. Additionally, the Journal continues to live up to its reputation for quality editorial, recently winning two Pulitzer Prizes to bring its total to 29.

Media strategists in the b-to-b realm still hold up the newspaper as the gold standard. "The Wall Street Journal pretty much goes with everything," said Kelly Konis, managing director of Carat.

"[The Journal] to me is the bible," said Robin Donovan, partner-media director at Bozell & Jacobs.

Despite such support from media buyers, the Journal has struggled since the dot-com bubble drove advertising revenue up to about $1 billion in 2000. Since then, the Journal, like many b-to-b media properties, has struggled against a decline in spending, particularly in the technology and general b-to-b categories.

"The last four to five years, the business-to-business ad market has been really tough, as bad as I can recall seeing it in 25 years," said Peter Kann, chairman-CEO of Dow Jones.

Adding more consumer advertising to the Journal helped to soften the blow of the b-to-b media recession.

"The Journal has remained competitive by adapting to the marketplace with additional segments, and its circulation is as strong as ever," said Mike Paradiso, global media director for Computer Associates International. "And their online presence makes them one of the strongest brands in the media space."

Dow Jones has also tried to build new revenue streams for the Journal and other company properties with the introduction of Dow Jones Integrated Solutions. This unit helps marketers integrate marketing programs across the entire Dow Jones platform, which includes print (the Journal and Barron's), online ( and the recently acquired MarketWatch), broadcast (CNBC and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network) and event marketing. In 2004, Dow Jones Integrated Solutions helped create programs for AT&T Corp., Cigna and United Technologies. -Sean Callahan

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