Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wall Street Journal becomes US's largest circulation newspaper

It's now official that the Wall Street Journal has passed USA Today as the nation's largest newspaper. Interestingly, it resulted from not only a big drop by USA Today (reasons include a price increase but more important is a change in the distribution agreement with Marriott Hotels), but also an increase by the Wall Street Journal.

I'll make a prediction now: Conventional wisdom says that Rupert Murdoch is making a big mistake with his plans to take more of the WSJ online material behind a pay barrier. I predict it'll be a big success, adding greatly to the newspaper's profitability and sparking a flock of followers. The increase in its circulation shows that consumers will pay for content, if they're offered content worth paying for.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dallas newspaper tries another revenue strategy -- raising prices and adding staff and content

Another newspaper strategy to survive is having success, although it's early yet. The Dallas Morning News' new strategy is to hire more reporters, add pages back to the newspaper -- and charge more for it with the extra circulation revenue making up for lost advertising. This story does a nice job of outlining all the various elements that are in play here, including some specialty publications. It's good to see another organization fighting back.

Continuing another strategy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel once again is holding its lead print story away from its online unit until Monday. Co-author Crocker Stephenson also used Twitter to promote it with tweets Friday and Saturday. My only problem with this strategy is that while the story, part of the newspaper's series on what it calls a "fractured" child care system, is excellent and important, I don't think its pull is important enough to make people buy the Sunday paper just to read it a day early. Nor do I think that it will draw significant new viewers on Monday. So why put it online at all? Why not use your online operation as a news-driven unit with teases to the print publication? We tease the other way all the time. I believe people use print media differently than they do online. So why not capitalize on that difference.