Rats! The New York Edition
This morning New Yorkers finally got a glimpse of The Wall Street Journal’s New York edition, a standalone section that promise to offer an alternative to the coverage of Gotham. “A national newspaper with a New York heart,” was the way Les Hinton, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, described the new edition during a breakfast for advertisers and media this morning.
For anyone who hasn’t seen it, today’s “Greater New York” featured 16 pages of full color advertising and editorial touching on topics from the goofy (rats mobbing the tony Upper East Side) to the useful (a potential bounce back in commercial real estate rents).
On the advertising side, Wall Street Journal Chief Revenue Officer Michael Rooney said that the New York edition has netted eight new advertisers, including American Ballet Theatre and Gagosian Gallery. Keep in mind, though, the paper offered discounts and bundled buys with its sister publication the New York Post for as little as $19,000 for two full page ads to a handful of New York-area local business new to both papers.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Murdoch’s newspaper empire has engaged rivals in an aggressive price war. During the late nineties he slashed prices of News Corp’s flagship UK titles The Times of London and The Sun in a bid to win market share and kill off competitors.
Executives with the Wall Street Journal said that if the New York experiment goes well – the costs associated with the section are roughly $15 million, said a Dow Jones source – it could be a blueprint for other markets to come.
But first the New York section must find its footing, convince readers that the articles are worth the time.
“When you are the best selling paper in the country with a unique niche why voluntary give it up and become like every other paper out there?” asked Barry Ritholtz, CEO and director of equity research at FusionIQ, and a longtime Wall Street Journal reader. “Do I really care what the Wall Street Journal thinks about local Chinese restaurants or Off Broadway theater? Who cares?”
(Reuters photo of News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch at The Cheltenham Festival)