When the Wall Street Journal decided last year to launch a week-end edition it was a big, bold gamble.
After all most of its regular readers don’t work on Saturdays.
There were lots of sceptics.Now, a year later, how is it doing? According to the WSJ it’s thriving. The number of ads is growing, and advertisers, it’s claimed, like it.
According to Gordon Crovitz, executive vice president of Dow Jones, most readers do not view the weekend edition as work – which presumably is how most view the daily edition.
”They think it’s a great read”, says Mr Crovitz.
Which if true proves the critics wrong when a year ago they predicted – as did William Powers,of The National Review, that it would never work.
He described it as a disaster – and “one of the most spectacular belly flops in modern media history”. Now he concedes a year later that it wasn’t such a disaster”
Figures tell the tale. According to the WSJ the weekend edition has attracted almost a thousand advertisers – of whom 750 are new to The Journal. Some have even started advertising in the Monday to Friday issues – and that its claimed has produced another $20 million in ad income.
But there are still skeptics. Among them Steven Barlow, an ad analyst for the Prudential Group, who claims a lot of the new weekend advertisers are car or boat dealers who don’t have much impact..
The number of big legitimate advertisers is questionable, he suggests.
To which WSJ executives counter with a claim that most weekend readers enjoy it as a “good read”- a break from the weekday business coverage.
Some even claim their wives read the weekend edition – something they don’t do during the week.
In fact so happy is Dow Jones with its weekend experiment it’s planning, it says, lot of new features. Including a wine column- and something it plans to call
” Remembrances” – which will be the Wall Street Journal’s first obituary column.
Within two years, executives predict, the weekend edition will be making a profit..