Dow Jones Says Online Subscribers Count

Dow Jones & Company announced today new integrated sales and marketing initiatives for print and online versions of its flagship publication, The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones will begin reporting its U.S. print and applicable online subscribers together in its latest Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) statement. The New York Times and Investors Business Daily also include online subscribers in their audited circulations.

The addition of some paying online subscribers ups the publication’s total paid U.S. circulation from 1,800,650 to 2,091,062, a jump of 16 percent. While circulation of the print version held steady over the last few years at 1,800,650, plus 175,000 international subs, the Online Journal grew to a record paid circulation of 686,000. Combining print and online subscribers brings the Wall Street Journal’s total subscription base to the highest level in its history.

Only subscribers who pay $79 count toward the total circulation, in line with the ABC’s rule that online subscribers must pay more than 25 percent of the basic subscription price for the print version of a publication. Subscribers to both the print and online versions are only counted once.

The effort to integrate print and online extends to the financial journal’s sales and marketing, as well. Advertisers will continue to be able to buy placement in either or both the print and Internet editions. Print advertisers who at least match the previous year’s spending will get a bonus they can use for additional online advertising. “This bonus program will encourage traditional print advertises to either start advertising online, or, if they already are, to devote more of their spending to the online journal,” said Gordon Crovitz, Dow Jones senior vice president and president of Dow Jones Electronic Publishing. He said total ad spending in the print and online pubs was up 20 percent for each of the last two years.

Crovits said that, while most subscribers to the online version did not subscribe to the print journal, their demographics were very similar to those of print readers. “They just happen to be people who get their news online instead of in print,” he said.

In June, Wall Street Journal Online worked with Revenue Science to launch Interest-based Targeting, a behavioral targeting method that lets it target individual users according to their interests no matter where the user is on the site.

Using Revenue Science’s service, publisher can segment its audience by combining clickstream data with a variety of information including IP address, registration information and site behavior.

Crovitz said Interest-based Targeting has been very successful. “It helps meet one of the original promises of the Internet,” he said, “that it would be able to deliver a highly refined audience to suit any particular marketing challenge. The technology now really does permit online publishers to deliver solutions for advertisers that are quite impressive.”

While Crovitz would not disclose specific information about the program, he said that much of the online publication’s inventory is sold as targeted ads rather than run of site at well over $100 CPM.

He said that the ABC’s acceptance of online subscribers as part of total audited circulation “confirms the growing maturity of the online industry.”

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