OLD Media Moves

Sending ripples through the world of business journalism

August 1, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

Martin Peers, Susan Vranica and Stephanie Kang wrote for Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal that the paper’s acquisition by News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will have repercussions throughout the business journalism world.

They wrote, “Murdoch has promised to beef up the Journal’s ad-sales effort and to lift its circulation, making the paper a more potent rival to business magazines, smaller business dailies like the Financial Times and Investor’s Business Daily and some general-interest papers in the U.S., such as the New York Times.”

Later, they wrote, “Mr. Murdoch’s biggest focus, though, is likely to be the Web. He said Marketwatchin June that he would invest in Dow Jones’s digital operation, which includes MarketWatch, as well as the Journal’s subscription-only Web site WSJ.com. News Corp. could use these sites, along with Dow Jones Newswires, which distributes business news to media outlets and Wall Street, to develop a financial-news portal. Online financial news is a crowded field, but no one site is dominant. While 52.1 million people visited at least one financial site in June, the biggest site — Yahoo — drew just 14.9 million, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

“Most sites cater to niches, like the high-end professionals who go to Bloomberg.com. Few cut across segments of the financial-news readership, says Mr. Kramer, a former president of CBS Digital Media. A merged News Corp. and Dow Jones would, at least on paper, be able to go after several segments, according to industry executives. The Journal could also tap social-networking technology developed by News Corp.’s MySpace to create an online community for business professionals.

“To make a portal work, News Corp. may have to convert WSJ.com to a free site. Mr. Murdoch said yesterday he hadn’t made up his mind about the wisdom of such a move. In June, Mr. Murdoch noted that a study he commissioned concluded that ‘you’d have 10 times as many visitors and let’s say five times as much advertising’ with a free site. The increased ad dollars were offset by loss of subscription revenue, making the move a wash, he added.”

Read more here.

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