Sunday, April 10, 2011

USAT | Murdoch's plans for The Wall Street Journal

"The Journal stands out as a distinctive brand and a tremendous product, and we will keep investing in it, keep innovating."

-- James Murdoch, heir apparent to his father, Rupert, as CEO of News Corp., owner of The Wall Street Journal. Murdoch spoke to writer Ken Auletta for an April 11 New Yorker story about Robert Thomson, the WSJ's lead editor. (The story is behind a paywall.) Under Thomson, the Journal continues to make inroads on USA Today and The New York Times. Surprisingly, Auletta's story includes more praise of the Murdochs than you might expect.

[Photo: Wired magazine]


  1. Keep investing? No way! Cut expenses to the bone and suck all the profit outta that thing until it's a husk.

    Oh, wait. I saw USA Today mentioned and though we were talking about that. Never mind.

  2. Why should it be 'surprising" that the New Yorker had nice things to say about Murdoch? He's a smart guy who knows how to add value to products. He can produce a funny, feisty tabloid (NY Post) that sets the standard for this form of daily newspapers, then take over one of the world's greatest newspapers (WSJ) and enhance the product in terms of broad-based audience reach without alienating its core audience of well-heeled readers.

    That sounds like someone with -- hmmm, what's the word I'm looking for ... Could you help me with this one, Craig and Co. -- oh, that's right: Vision.

    Bottom line is: The hell with his politics. Murdoch is a smart and very successful media giant and he's proving that investment in product works.

    Years from now, after Craig and Co. have officially driven USAT and perhaps every other property in the ground, someone will write a dissertation -- or a book -- about the two opposing roads taken here. Since the WSJ will likely remain thriving and delivering bigtime on ROI and USAT will be dead or close to it, which road do you think will appear the wise one then?

  3. When Murdoch bought the London Times, I thought he would degrade it into oblivion. He did not. He made it lively and exciting once again, scrapping the fuddy-duddy stuff like the court circular. He's doing the same with the WSJ, and if I were the NYT I would be very nervous because he now has them encircled like an anaconda.

  4. While I wouldn't want to disagree with the general theme here, it's not fair or correct to compare the relative success of the Wall Street Journal in weathering the newspaper decline with GCI's lack of success. The WSJ has a readership (read 'demographic') unlike any other daily and that publication cannot honestly be compared with others, even USAT. Even a comparison of the WSJ with the NYT is fraught. Not sure if Auletta addresses this as I haven't seen the article.

    That said, it doesn't mean GCI couldn't learn anything from Murdoch.

  5. WSJ will continue to steal USAT market share. It appeals to the business traveler in ways USAT does not. USAT will lose many of its hotel deals to them. Murdoch will continue to play USAT like Martore played ShortTail Media. The price will only get cheaper and maybe even collapse.


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