MediaFile

Breakingviews sees gold in Fortune, CNNMoney.com

Business news analysis service Breakingviews.com isn’t doing too shabbily since getting the boot from its longtime space in The Wall Street Journal. Not long after that happened, it wound up in The New York Times and its sister paper the International Herald Tribune, as well as the Daily Telegraph. (And occasionally it shows up in the Journal through the miracle of advertising.)

Now it’s scoping out Time Warner territory. Breakingviews plans to announce on Thursday that it has strucka deal to appear in Fortune magazine starting Oct. 27, while selected “views” will run on the Internet at CNNMoney.com, which includes Fortune’s online material. In addition, Breakvingviews staffers will join the CNNMoney video line-up in the near future.

Breakingviews, which jostles with The Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street and Financial Times’s Lex column to analyze business news for investors and other market types, has 27 columnists based in London, New York, Paris, Washington, Madrid and San Francisco, according to the press release.

The contract lasts for one year.

(Photo: Reuters)

FT CEO spots green in the red

When the markets go south and most people are losing, it’s safe to say that there are some others who are winning, or at least spotting opportunities. You could say that about the Financial Times and its chief executive, John Ridding, who is finding a business angle on what they say about the editor’s decision-making process: “If it bleeds, it leads.”The London-based FT is building up a pretty good head of steam, particularly in the United States, as the effects of the financial crisis ooze into yet more corners of Wall Street and Main Street (sick of the “streets” cliche yet?). Here’s evidence, some of which Ridding gave me when we had breakfast at Michael’s last week:

    Newsstand sales rose 30 percent in the United States in September, and about 20 percent in Europe and Asia. That’s compared to August 2008, i.e., it’s a “sequential” gain rather than year-over-year growth. In the United Kingdom, Ridding said, “We basically couldn’t print enough copies and retailers were running out.” The number of registered users of FT.com rose to 750,000 now, compared with 30,000 a year ago. Some of this growth of course, came from pulling back the curtain last November. But Ridding said a couple hundred thousand of those showed up in the past few months, as the mortgage and housing crisis in the United States deepened and then metastasized into full-blown world-market-crisis mode. (Here’s how registration and subscription works at FT.com) During one week, Ridding noted, page views hit 25 million, more than double the normal amount. Ridding’s conclusion: “What [the crisis] is doing for our readership and audience is pretty remarkable. I think it really underlines this idea that at a time of turmoil, people really do need trusted guides, and are prepared to pay.” (The Journal, if anyone’s wondering, logged 21.7 million visitors at its website, up 110 percent from last year. It’s hard to tell whether the figure is comparable.) During the week of Sept. 22, online page views were up 300 percent, and monthly unique visitors were up 250 percent compared with last year. The United States is pitching in so far, producing the largest number of unique users.

That’s all very good, but reader interest tends to spike during news events, and ebb afterward. Ridding suggested ways to retain the newcomers:Stick to paid subscriptions. Ridding noted that many readers have stuck with the paper through its newsstand sale price increases, and plenty of folks are willing to pay for not only the FT, but access to the Lex column too.

    Do more video. People apparently like it as it’s resulting in more than a million views a month, Ridding said. Get the paper on more formats. Press hard for online subscriptions as much as print ones. Get it on the Amazon Kindle electronic book reader. Use RSS and other tools — whatever it takes to get it out there. Push online use as much as print. Ridding was proud to say that the FT’s dependence on print advertising has fallen to 42 percent, an important point to keep in mind as print newspaper advertising dries up. And don’t get worried about the idea that online use will “cannibalize” print sales, Ridding said. “The idea of online cannibalizing print is not just wrong, it’s the opposite. It’s proving to be a very effective marketing tool for the newspaper.”

None of this should indicate that the FT has figured out something that the rest of the world has missed, he noted. “No one has necessarily nailed the business model in media, but we feel that we’ve got a pretty strong vision and operation.”

Breakingviews breaks in to The Wall Street Journal

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The Wall Street Journal recently stopped carrying the Breakingviews business analysis column in favor of its expanded in-house Heard on the Street column, but Breakingviews still managed to crash the party in Wednesday’s paper. In true merry-prankster mode, the Breakingviews ad urges readers of Heard on the Street to think about what they’re missing and how to get a new fix. What the ad doesn’t mention is that The New York Times picked up Breakingviews for its business section just after the WSJ dropped it. Such a move would be a real paper cut.

Murdoch strikes again, this time in Esquire

Rupert MurdochEsquire magazine is running a Q&A with News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch, in which in the international media tycoon talks about his upbringing, what makes Murdoch Murdoch, his new crown jewel The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and a host of other subjects. Without further ado (warning: look out for some inappropriate language):

Murdoch on his political ideology and the crisis blowing through multiple financial institutions:

I’m not a knee-jerk conservative. I passionately believe in free markets and less government, but not to the point of being a libertarian. After this financial crisis, there are going to be some restrictions. I’m frightened they’ll go too far, but certainly there should be something.

McClatchy, other newspapers think vertically

Friday’s press release from McClatchy Corp about its new vice president for strategic initiatives includes a quote from interactive media VP Christian Hendricks that caught my eye:

It’s clear there’s a tremendous opportunity to provide local readers with a richer online experience by creating niche and vertical websites that combine our local experience and content with national brands and content… We are confident advertisers will also benefit greatly from better targeted advertising opportunities and increased traffic in topic-specific content areas on these sites.

By now you’ve realized that it was “niche and vertical websites” that got me all excited. Normally I find ways to translate that kind of jargon into English, but not this time.

Who has time to read with all that sailing?

wsj.jpgThe Wall Street Journal took the wraps off its new luxury magazine yesterday –  a big glossy that appeals to those polo players and yachtsmen who weren’t sweating out $4/gallon gasoline this summer.

Check out the demographics of the average WSJ.  magazine reader: Carries household assets of $2.9 million, spent 26 days golfing last year, took seven leisure trips and still managed to squeeze in 16 days of sailing. That’s 16 days of sailing.

The New York Times this morning reminds us that even the launch event was a bit on the posh side:

You gotta love Rupert, says Pearson’s Scardino

ft.jpgFor better or worse, Rupert Murdoch has made big changes to the look and feel of The Wall Street Journal. But whatever your take, it’s hard to dislike a man who loves newspapers so much, says Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Financial Times owner Pearson.

“He’s made a lot of changes,” Scardino told journalists on the day Pearson reported forecast-beating results, choosing her words carefully, but adding that the idea that editorial independence would be preserved at the Journal “didn’t last very long.”

Scardino said she didn’t envy the Journal its circulation of 2 million, about four times that of the FT, saying the FT was a “niche newspaper” with a lower cost base. She did, however, praise the journal’s managing editor, Robert Thomson, who just happens to be a former editor of the FT’s U.S. edition. Her verdict on Murdoch? “He loves newspapers. It’s hard to dislike a man for that.”  

Brauchli’s unfinished News Corp business

Marcus Brauchli could have looked forward to a pleasant summer vacation before digging into his new job in September as The Washington Post’s new executive editor, but instead he will punch the clock like the rest of us.

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, the former Wall Street Journal managing editor said he plans to wrap up his consulting work with News Corp on a project in Asia. We don’t know the details, but it was part of an agreement tied to his resignation from the Journal after News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch let him know that his services at the paper would no longer be needed.

“It’s very interesting and productive,” was all Brauchli would say about it.