Wall Street Journal's Greater New York Wins Advertisers but Draw for Readers Remains Unclear

Local Ad Revenue Doubles but Print Circulation Declines

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Today's Greater New York section of The Wall Street Journal.
Today's Greater New York section of The Wall Street Journal.

Over a year after Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal introduced Greater New York to better compete for New York Times advertisers and readers, the section is winning with advertisers but not necessarily with readers.

"The revenue for the region is up 100%," Journal Chief Revenue Officer Michael Rooney said. New Journal advertisers from the region since Greater New York began include FreshDirect, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Willoughby's camera showroom, Gagosian Gallery, Paul Miller Auto Group, Hudson City Bancorp and Zachys Wine & Liquor.

"Prior to The Wall Street Journal coming out with that edition, we were always a little hesitant," said Andrew McMurray, VP of Zachys, a longtime Times advertiser whose brick-and-mortar store is located in Scarsdale, N.Y. "It was very cost prohibitive and weren't sure going after just a financial audience was the right move for us."

Zachys tried the Journal after Greater New York debuted, liked the results, and has now shifted some of its ad budget to the Journal from the Times and other areas, Mr. McMurray said. "You'd think that , having been here as long as we had and having been in The New York Times for so long, we'd have been pretty well-known," he said. "The amount of new clients we've acquired has been a pleasant surprise."

Greater New York's effect on readers, however, is far less clear.

Despite a local ad campaign calling Greater New York "Ahead of The Times," new print distribution including a presence in 450 area Starbucks stores, and other efforts, The Journal's print circulation around New York has fallen since Greater New York arrived. Its paid print circulation in the New York area was 224,165 on March 17, 2010, not long before Greater New York was introduced, according to a filing with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. But its paid print circulation in the area was 216,421 on March 23, 2011, nearly a year after Greater New York became a reality. That's a 3.5% decline.

Then again, the Journal has generally been declining in print even as its electronic subscribers grow, so it's conceivable that Greater New York's metro coverage has helped win subscribers to the Journal's digital products even if it hasn't lifted print or even held it steady. The Journal declined to say how many of its recently added electronic subscribers come from the New York area.

"We're pleased with the response we've been getting from readers," Mr. Rooney said. "Eighty-two percent say Greater New York makes the Journal more valuable. Seventy-one percent say Greater New York makes the Journal more relevant."

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