Dow Jones Restructures Across Channels

Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch, has restructured its business based on its media properties and audience, instead of its previous channel-based approach.

“This new structure is a significant first step in transforming Dow Jones from what it has been: a channel-focused publishing company, into what it must become: a franchise, market, and customer-focused media company,” said CEO Rich Zannino, who was named to the post in January.

Dow Jones has shuffled its business units into three groups, serving the consumer, enterprise, and community media markets. Previously, properties were broken out by distribution channel, either print, electronic publishing or community newspapers.

The consumer media group will house Dow Jones’ flagship Wall Street Journal properties, as well as the Barron’s and MarketWatch franchises and consumer-facing joint ventures including SmartMoney and Vedomosti. The enterprise media group will include Dow Jones’ newswires, licensing services, indexes, financial information services, and enterprise-facing joint ventures Factiva and Stoxx. The community media group will remain largely unchanged, consisting of the company’s 15 daily and 19 weekly Ottaway community newspapers.

Under the new model, advertising is expected to be more tightly integrated across channels, with ad sales teams better able to put together cross-media packages that work together, said Gordon Crovitz, the former the president of Dow Jones’ electronic publishing unit who will now lead its consumer media group. “There will be a significant acceleration in our consumer marketing efforts, including many things that were not as easy to accomplish under the old structure,” he said.

“There’s a big difference between asking people to collaborate across business units and having them work together on the same team, with the same goals,” Zannino added.

The company will also combine tasks like marketing, news gathering and production across the company. As a result of the restructuring, it expects to save $6 million for the last 9 months of 2006, and $8 million a year beginning in 2007.

Dow Jones will also begin reporting monthly unique visitors and monthly pageviews for each of its Web sites, as well as paid subscribers to its online properties. Its revenue goals will be reached by focusing on increasing metrics like monthly pageviews per user and pageviews per visit, Zannino said.

“We’re delivering an audience that advertisers are looking for, we’re not chasing an audience we can’t monetize,” he said. “This is the strategy that leads to bottom-line results online.”

The changes will result in 20 net layoffs, with more positions than that being eliminated, but a few new positions being added. Most of those positions were in upper management, Zannino said, adding that more than 60 percent of the top 25 jobs and 40 percent of the top 50 jobs in the company will be affected, either by layoffs or substantial changes in responsibilities.

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