WSJ Still Thrives in Tough Times

18 07 2010

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As we have already discovered, traditional media are searching for new techniques to engage their audiences to offset low readership and circulation (newspapers and magazines). Most of these media end up finding social media to be the answer, and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is no different. Except the WSJ requires readers to subscribe for a monthly fee (unless they want to pay the yearly subscription in whole) to access all of their content, so how is the WSJ using social media to engage their audience?

Well for one, the WSJ has a blogs page that is free for anyone to read and share via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and nearly any other social media channel. They also have a very comprehensive Facebook page that incorporates their blogs, streams their Twitter feed, and offers other news stories for free. Their Journal Community allows readers to connect with other people and discuss topics. Honestly, I had trouble finding content that I actually had to pay for! So what exactly are subscribers paying for? Well they receive updated news alerts, access to their online markets data center, printed journals 6 days a week, and an iPhone or Blackberry app if they subscribe to both online and print journals. But do you think the WSJ offers enough perks to convince people to subscribe?

With 414,00 paid subscribers for online content and an over all circulation of 2.1 million, the WSJ leads the pack as the most widely circulated newspaper. The WSJ has actually felt a slight increase in circulation while other newspapers struggle with declining circulation numbers. Some have said that the WSJ demonstrates the proper way to use a pay wall and still find readers willing to pay for newspaper content. Although some bloggers have condoned the WSJ for their social media policy, it appears as though the newspaper has embraced social media strategically and appropriately.

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Even though you can access most of the WSJ’s content for free and share via your social media of choice, I still believe the newspapers quality reputation gives readers a valid reason to subscribe. In fact, all this talk about the WSJ really makes me wish I still had a subscription! What do you think?

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3 responses

18 07 2010
Eric Gustafson

I find it pretty crazy that they’ve been able to increase paid subscriptions with all of today’s free media and the numerous outlets available. It seems like they are doing a good job of participating and engaging their audience through social mediums. Could this be attributed to the increase in readership? Or is it just the fact that their journalism is so professional and the fact that we’re seeing more and more amateur journalism? I personally have never subscribed to the WSJ but I’m definitely more inclined to check them out now.

19 07 2010
Sean Munley

Well if im not mistaken it was only a .5 or .05 increase in readership but that can go along way in the struggling newspaper industry. But I feel like their reputation for publishing quality news has also helped their cause. Perhaps the advent of more and more amateur journalism also contributes.

19 07 2010
Christine Lewandowski

I have to agree that the quality of the WSJ newspaper is probably a key factor in their increased readership and subscriptions. Having access to the paper from a phone app doesn’t hurt, especially because it opens it up to a wider, worldwide audience. In a Media and Politics course that I took while studying in London my professor often spoke of the WSJ as one of the best American newspaper; in his British, elite opinion it was the only American newspaper worth reading. The paper offers so much financial news that it also doesn’t surprise me during these economic times.

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