Monday, April 18, 2005

Dow Jones' Kann Shuffles Deck to Stem Ad Revenue Slide

As reported by the New York Post in the face of tumbling ad revenues Dow Jones Chairman and CEO Peter Kann is moving up DJ's top marketing and ad executive Scott Schulman to a new Chief Strategy Officer position while Judy Barry, a star ad salesperson plucked from The New York Times, will take over Schulman's slot and report to WSJ Publisher Karen House. We ranted on the state of WSJ Online's marketing a few days ago in our weblog, but clearly its not just the Joneses who are having a hard time keeping up with the new Joneses of news content. The LA Times' recently announced a media blitz to boost circulation and other news outlets are struggling similarly. The main difference is WSJ's stoic defense of its online subscription content, which may have defended its premium ad pricing to some degree but at the end of the day does not seem to have driven up the readership necessary to attract offsetting online ad revenues. As noted in this week's news analysis content distribution is not as important to driving revenues as getting self-distributing content into the right contexts. Dow Jones certainly has a noble legacy in driving electronic content via its wire services and newspapers to important business contexts, but in the post-distribution era of content the "there" of content value is all about the reader, not the vendor, forcing many news organizations to rethink the basic nature of their offerings. Hopefully these moves by Dow Jones address their core product and product strategy as much as short-term ad sales.
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