There has been much controversy surrounding a move by The Wall Street Journal to accept advertising on Page One. Soon, The Journal will also “downsize” the dimensions of its print version to offset increased overhead.
These moves underscore the need to cauterize revenue declines, for the print version, in the face of falling circulation. The Journal does not stand alone as the New York Times is also facing downsizing.
Note: Critics against Page One advertising claim it will somehow lessen the integrity of the national newspaper, maintaining the need for separation of “church and state”. Have these critics taken a few moments to examine the ads that appear on the Home Page of their Internet counterparts? What makes an ad on Page One more disingenuous than and ad on the Home Page?
Most, if not all, of this maneuvering stems from the tremendous and increasing appetite for news delivered via the Internet. Print, in almost all forms, is suffering circulation declines. The downward trend will continue for some time.
Fortunately, traditional media giants are recognizing the need to integrate digital versions into their product suites. Rupert Murdoch is leading that charge for News Corp. while The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal Internet editions are experiencing surging revenue increases.
Managing cost containment on one side while investing on the other is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The business model for an integrated company like the WSJ must change radically.
Radical Solution for The Wall Street Journal: Force a downward circulation base for the Journal by increasing the subscription cost for the printed version to $2500 ($10 / copy newsstand), eliminating all but the cream of the reader crop while, at the same time, increasing the CPM for these readers to increase margins. Ramp up the Internet ad rates, allowing for increases in unique visits and an extension for mobile delivery options.