WSJ.com Managing Editor Discusses Subscription and Ad Revenue

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 |  Includes: DJ, TST
by: David Jackson

Bill Grueskin (pictured left), the managing editor of Dow Jones' WSJ.com, was interviewed by Mark Glaser of MediaShift. The interview contains some important points for investors in Dow Jones (DJ) and other financial content companies like TheStreet.com (TSCM), including discussion of WSJ.com's subscription revenues and demand for graphical and video ads. Short excerpt:

How would you sum up this year for your site and for online media in general?

Bill Grueskin: For everybody, I would call it a happily tumultuous year. Especially for sites such as WSJ.com that are closely tied to a print product. We’re confronted with some very tough trends in the print advertising industry. At the same time, the growth continues to be in the solid double digits [for online ads], and we’ve raised the price of a subscription by 25% this year. And we separated out a subscription to Barron’s [online]; so if you wanted both, it was a rise of 50% year over year. And we were still able to grow our subscription base by 30,000 or 40,000 subscribers.

The ad market has been good, and it’s been a challenge to figure out how to take advantage of the trends online while continuing to do things that are expected by people reading an online version of a print product that has decades and decades of history. It’s a long way of saying it was a very good year for WSJ.com and Dow Jones Online, and most of my counterparts who run sites attached to print products would say the same thing. It’s just that there are concerns about the part of the business [the print side] that still provides the funding...

You’ve also done a lot of video lately. What are your goals with video?

Grueskin: Well the first goal is pretty straightforward. The ad revenue in video is pretty hard to beat. So far, any ad inventory [in video] we create, we can sell...

Full disclosure: David Jackson is short TSCM at the time of writing.