To plug its five-year deal to be the “official technology partner” of the PGA Tour, CDW Corp. will run ads in several golf magazines through the end of the year. But Bruce Delahorne, CDW's senior manager of national advertising, wants to get word about the partnership, announced in January, to a broader, though no less affluent, audience.
After recently meeting with ad reps from The Wall Street Journal, Delahorne has decided to run a series of four-page ads in the Journal to coincide with this year's tour tournaments, starting with the U.S. Open in June. The ads, which will run in the Journal's main section, will also appear in July, August and September. For now, the ads are slated just for print, but CDW is considering adding special online elements, Delahorne said.
“They're not as hidebound and are more innovative and flexible than they used to be,” Delahorne said of the Journal's ad department. “That kind of flexibility is just as important as any editorial changes.”
Gordon McLeod, president of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, said the change in approach was set in motion more than a year ago with the reorganization of the Journal's advertising sales department. The ad restructuring combined the print Journal, Wall Street Journal Digital Network (including Barron's Online, MarketWatch.com and WSJ.com) and the international sales and marketing staffs into a single entity.
In the four months since Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. acquired Dow Jones & Co., the Journal's parent company, for $5.6 billion, the pace of change has accelerated. “With News Corp., we're being more aggressive in growth plans and more creative in packaging our assets,” McLeod said.
Foremost among the changes has been that of making more WSJ.com content available for free, such as opinion pieces from the print Journal. WSJ.com has also expanded free content about travel and sports, as well as new blogs. Personal finance and lifestyle content, video and podcasts are also free on WSJ.com.
There have also been other recent moves to extend WSJ.com, whose paid circulation has grown to 1.1 million, from 931,000 last May:
*In January, WSJ.com introduced SeenThis?—a social media tool designed to bring users' social networks onto the pages of WSJ.com.
*In February WSJ.com announced that investment research company Morningstar was providing new investor tools and international investment funds data to the Web site.
*Also in February the Wall Street Journal Digital Network debuted a free, downloadable application for Windows Mobile phones that provides users with mobile access to Barrons.com, MarketWatch.com and WSJ.com.
“We're broadening our audience and bringing people to the site beyond business and finance but [who] are still decision-makers,” McLeod said. “Web audiences have come to expect convenience and content in a variety of different places.”
Nicole O'Rourke, VP-advertising and brand management at Aetna Inc., a frequent advertiser with the Journal brand, said it was too soon to tell how all of the various changes at WSJ.com would play out.
“It's getting more engaging,” she said. “I need to see more graphics and more frequent updates. But traffic is growing for them, and I think we're going to see more microtargeting, which would attract more loyalty to the site.”
O'Rourke said Aetna is experimenting with different ad units on WSJ.com but has not yet made any major commitments.
Delahorne said CDW hasn't decided whether to raise its overall ad spending with Dow Jones, but added he has been impressed with the various changes both in print and online.
David Rittenhouse, senior partner and media director at Neo@Ogilvy, a division of OgilvyOne Worldwide, said: “They're making the site richer and more dynamic.” The biggest challenge going forward, he said, is how to give away content and still hold a premium audience.
A person familiar with the situation said Murdoch is now focusing almost exclusively on making changes to the print edition of the Journal and will then shift his attention to WSJ.com.
Lately the print edition (1.7 million circ.) has been running more breaking news on the front page, with enhanced coverage of the nation's capital on the inside.
“Weekend Journal,” which runs on Friday, last month added a sports page. It includes “Tactics,” a regular column by Darren Everson, and “Game Time,” a selective rundown of sports events soon airing on TV.
On Sept. 6, Dow Jones will debut WSJ., a glossy lifestyle publication that will be delivered to 800,000 subscribers of the Journal as an insert in the newspaper's “Weekend Edition.”
Dow Jones is betting that the various changes will give a boost to the print Journal and broaden its ad base. In the third quarter, the last period for which ad numbers were available, ad revenue for the print Journal fell 2.9%, compared with the same period in 2006. The decline was primarily due to a sharp decrease in technology advertising revenue, which more than offset increases in financial and general advertising. M