Jim Garrity, exec VP-CMO of financial services company Wachovia Corp., has been impressed with the redesigned Wall Street Journal, which rolled out Jan. 2.
"They did their homework and are using the publication in a holistic sense, which is where print fits in with their customers' needs," he said. "They've made a shift editorially to do more coverage of the business of emerging technologies, emerging media and how to communicate with your customers, which gives me another reason to read the Journal every morning."
Wachovia had significant ad exposure in the Journal's Jan 2 issue: one page ad touting the company's corporate banking services and six quarter-page tombstone ads. All the ads ran in the newspaper's revamped "Money & Investing" section.
Garrity noted that Wachovia typically runs a series of ads in the Journal at the end of every year but this time around chose to run them in the first redesigned issue.
"I wouldn't be surprised if some of the changes lead to greater value in terms of more advertising and higher circulation, which could lead to a shift in [advertisers'] spending" with the Journal .
That's what Dow Jones & Co. is counting on, as it touts the redesign as a way to fuel integrated ad sales between the print Journa l (2.04 million circ.) and WSJ.com (765,000 circ).
Emphasis on analysis
The cornerstone of the redesign is differentiated news coverage, with 80% of the content focusing on analysis and not just "what happened." New features include "Today's Agenda," alerting readers to the significance of news they will see later in the day, and "Informed Reader," providing insights from sources outside the Journal . Stories in the print edition are tighter, with summary boxes providing highlights. More-detailed stories run on WSJ.com.
There have been several physical changes to the Journal. It features new typography and has shrunk in width by three inches to an industry standard 12 inches, reducing the space devoted to news by 10%. Its length remains 22.75 inches. The new format will save $18 million annually in newsprint costs, according to Dow Jones.
In making the changes, "Dow Jones is preparing for the future," said Sarah Fay, president of Isobar Americas, a division of marketing services holding company Aegis. "It would be smart to take money from print and invest it online because the Web site can offer so many different positions in terms of segmenting and delivering ads in more creative formats."
L. Gordon Crovitz, president of Dow Jones Consumer Media Group and publisher of the Journal, said the response to the redesign has been favorable. "I've got hundreds of emails from readers who like the new format and applaud the greater focus on what does the news mean and not just what happened the day before. Advertisers seem to be enthusiastic as well," he said. "The redesign gives us reason to be optimistic to grow subscribers at a time when most newspapers and magazines are experiencing a decline."
Crovitz added that standard ad units that are part of the redesign, as well as more integrated ad sales between the Journal and WSJ.com, "will help us to grow ad revenue."
Al Ries, chairman of market strategy firm Ries & Ries, said smaller ad units in the revamped Journal will give marketers more visibility than before. "It's still a powerful ad vehicle for the b2b crowd," he said. "In terms of reaching top management, you can't beat the Journal . [Advertisers] can count on top managers going through every page."
While generally praising the changes, marketers seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach on whether they will boost their ad spending in light of the Journal's redesign.
Steve Pacheco, director of advertising at FedEx Corp., said his company's ad budget for Dow Jones properties will stay level. "We'll take another look" in a few months, he said. "We're very measured about our ads."
Dow Jones continues to make other major changes. On Jan. 10 it announced a restructuring of its Enterprise Media Group that is designed to boost its presence in the financial, corporate and media, and government markets as well as reduce its reliance on traditional print revenue,
The company has consolidated its enterprise product lines into three business units: Dow Jones Indexes and Reprints, Dow Jones Financial Information Services and Dow Jones Content Technology Solutions
Sparked by the company's recent acquisition of business information provider Factiva, the new structure integrates three complementary businesses—Dow Jones Newswires, Dow Jones Licensing Services and Factiva—into the Content Technology Solutions unit.
As part of the reorganization, Dow Jones said it was eliminating 98 jobs from the Enterprise Media Group.