The Wall Street Journal will launch a redesign of its Web site Monday night, marking the latest transformation at the newspaper acquired by News Corp. (NWS) in its $5.6 billion takeover of Dow Jones & Co.
Gordon McLeod, president of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, declined to specify how much News Corp. invested in the redesign of WSJ.com but said the company made "a big financial commitment." He added that the new site will be more effective in monetizing the newspaper's online content, with larger display advertisements and more sponsored sections of content.
News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has overseen many changes at the newspaper since the acquisition, but the site redesign may represent the most crucial effort as print media struggles to find its footing in an increasingly digital age.
"Rupert Murdoch wants The Wall Street Journal to be the preeminent brand for news everywhere in the world and on any technology platform, and this is one step towards that goal," said Alan Murray, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Currently, the newspaper's chief rival, New York Times Co. (NYT), has a head start on the Web, due in part to its status as a subscription-free site. In August, The New York Times brand had the second-largest online audience of all newspaper publishers in the U.S. behind Tribune Newspapers, according to comScore Media Metrix. The Wall Street Journal Online, the rare news site to cultivate a successful subscription offering, was ranked No. 10, with just over a third of the New York Times' unique visitors.
That said, WSJ.com has been growing fast. Its paid subscriber count topped the 1 million mark this year, up 5% in July from one year ago.
News Corp. reportedly toyed with the idea of eliminating the site's paid subscription model but decided against it. Instead, the new site will make more general news available to non-subscribers. It also will highlight the free content on the home page and use icons to indicate whether a story is accessible without a subscription.
The new site also aims to be more colorful and easier to navigate than the old, with an improved video player and more liberal use of photos. The new story pages feature a moving newsreel at the top with headlines and photos linking to related content.
Other new features include a new section devoted to management issues, a social networking site called "Journal Community," a mobile version for access on handheld devices and an expanded archive.
The redesigned Web site is the latest change at Dow Jones, which publishes this newswire. Other recent moves under News Corp.'s watch include the launch of a glossy luxury magazine, a new editor-in-chief and a greater focus on general news at the newspaper.
7 months ago