Matthew Creamer and Jeremy Mullman write in Advertising Age about the bruising competition for news and readers that the New York Times and Financial Times will face against a Wall Street Journal owned by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.
They wrote, “While he’s said little about his plans for the Wall Street Journal and the rest of Dow Jones’ portfolio, Mr. Murdoch’s track record makes a few things clear: He is a cutthroat competitor unafraid of using bloody price cuts to gain share (as he has with London’s Times and at the New York Post) and his salespeople tend to be among the most aggressive and creative in the industry.
“If Mr. Murdoch does take the Journal in a more consumer-oriented direction, it’ll likely result in a national newspaper for the wealthy right that would counterbalance The New York Times on the left and Gannett Co.’s USA Today in the center. But Ed Atorino, a veteran newspaper analyst at Benchmark Co., said he sees it as unlikely that Mr. Murdoch would be able to cause the same sort of turmoil among those players as he had in the cable-news arena. ‘The truth is Dow Jones had been pushing pretty hard in that direction already,’ Mr. Atorino said. ‘Can he light a fire under the sales guys? Sure, but I don’t think the Journal was broken. There’s nothing he needs to fix.’
“A push by Mr. Murdoch in a more consumer-oriented direction, however, could create an opportunity for Pearson’s Financial Times to assert itself as a true, independent business source, particularly if Mr. Murdoch’s Journal suffers a misstep that causes readers and advertisers to question its coverage.”
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