Launch Date Set for Sept. 10, 2005

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ending a long period of speculation, Dow Jones & Co.'s Wall Street Journal announced it would once again begin publishing a Saturday edition starting Sept. 10, 2005.

"We think there are consumers and advertisers that will find this a more attractive environment," said

Karen Elliott House, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

1889 to 1953
The Journal previously published on Saturdays from its inception in 1889 until 1953.

The new Saturday edition, which Journal executives said would require hiring 150 additional staffers, will resemble the look and feel of the iconic daily, although in a call with investors Ms. House suggested the front page could have design tweaks.

In an earlier interview, the Journal's managing editor, Paul Steiger, said the paper would have three "segments" -- a news section, a money and investing section recapping the markets' weeks, and a new lifestyle section, "Pursuits." That name, reminiscent of the "Escapes" section of The New York Times, was described by Ms. House in the conference call as being a "magazine-styled section."

The Journal's total number of sections on Saturday "will depend on time of year, and product requirements," Ms. House said. The Saturday Journal may carry a heftier single-copy price than the daily's $1.

Weekend news
Fat Sunday papers contribute a disproportionately large chunk of revenues to most newspapers' coffers, but Saturday is typically the weakest-selling day of the week. Mr. Steiger said one driver of the decision to publish Saturday was "lots of news happens on Friday, and not much happens on Saturday." Obviously, the Monday edition will no longer carry stock tables, but Mr. Steiger said any other changes to the Monday Journal would be minimal.

The Journal's view of Saturday as a market for the relaxed weekend read typically associated with Sunday is in keeping with another major move to broaden the definition of a week-ending paper. Time Inc. is currently closing the first issue of its resurrected Life magazine, which will be a newspaper supplement appearing in dailies on Friday.

One logistical issue the Journal faces is weekend delivery, as around 30% of subscribers receive their copies at their workplace. Ms. House said the daily would begin collecting residential address data from such subscribers.

Circulation assumption
"Our assumption is that the circulation will begin as the same" as the daily Journal, Ms. House said, "and it may grow on weekends."

The Journal has hedged -- in part -- the impact of a years-long downturn with the addition of consumer advertising in its "Personal Journal" and "Weekend Journal" sections. But one key media buyer suggested there may not be much more ad upside in a Saturday edition, particularly for marketers in its business-heavy bailiwick.

"People have a hard time buying Monday and Friday, because the core business is Tuesdays thought Thursdays," said Carolyn Dow, vice president and assistant media director at Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulous in Boston, which buys for Putnam Investments. She suggested the advertisers may hold back buys until the Journal has proved that readers "are going to want to consume that information on a weekend."

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