International: WSJ Merges Print, Digital Sales

International: WSJ Merges Print, Digital Sales

Author | Source: Advertising Age | Friday, Sep 07,2007 10:25 AM

International: WSJ Merges Print, Digital Sales

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Change keeps on coming for Dow Jones and its flagship Wall Street Journal. Even as its impending acquisition by News Corp. approaches, the Journal today told staffers about the latest reorganization of its ad sales, creating a hybrid force of category experts, media specialists and regional managers with responsibilities across media.

Print, digital specialists
Effective tomorrow, regional sales managers will assume responsibility for working across both print and digital properties of the brand; the sales representatives who report to them will remain specialists in print or digital. The marketing and business development department will continue the paper's relatively recent commitment to expertise in various advertiser categories.

Joe Gallagher, for example, was named VP-New York and Southeast multimedia sales; he had been national sales director for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Jessica Sibley was named VP-New York and New England multimedia sales; she had been VP-financial advertising and agency relations at the Journal. The integrated sales group, which had helped coordinate multimedia campaigns, was dissolved as its staff were sent into the standard sales or marketing teams.

Five staffers' positions are being eliminated in the move.

It's the first reorganization under Michael F. Rooney, who came from ESPN in May to become chief revenue officer for Dow Jones. But it's only one of many for the Journal or its parent since January 2006. That's when Judy Barry, then the senior VP-sales and marketing, started seriously emphasizing advertiser category expertise over the sales staff's old regional focus. One month later, new Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino organized the company into three business units, one of which unified the print and online editions of The Journal under Mr. Crovitz.

"Michael Rooney became the first chief revenue officer in May with the goal of creating a highly integrated sales and marketing structure," Mr. Crovitz said in an interview. "The reorganization we're doing today reflects the structure under Michael, which includes not just the print Journal but online, international and our integrated sales."

Hoping to improve ad sales
The executives hope the reorganization will improve ad sales at the Journal, whose print edition saw ad revenue fall 7% in July while online ad revenue from The Journal Online, sibling MarketWatch and others rose 24%.

But print publishers in general have been trying to figure out the best way to operate their sales teams in the new-media age, with some advertisers and agencies demanding platform-agnostic contacts while other media buying agencies remain distinctly un-integrated. Answering the question right is worth it: The Journal, for one, estimates that advertisers that engage across media platforms wind up spending 20% more with Dow Jones properties.

Mr. Rooney allowed that not every media company can integrate print and digital sales without some experimentation and probably occasional failure, but said The Journal is in the right spot to get it done. "The reason it's going to work here, and why so many people are challenged here, is we have one brand, one franchise, to all rally behind and we have one customer to focus on," he said. "The larger companies have different brand names with different audience segments. We have that opportunity so we should take advantage."

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