Dow Jones Moves Into Mobile

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Dow Jones & Co. is closing the loop on its media channel footprint with a new property called The Wall Street Journal Mobile.


The product is a collaboration of The Wall Street Journal Online and Summus Inc., a Raleigh, NC, provider of mobile media applications. The mobile version costs $3.99 monthly for subscribers using Sprint and Alltel. Other carriers join next year.


"I think you're starting to see more publishers taking mobile information delivery seriously," said Jessica Perry, Dow Jones vice president of business development for consumer electronic publishing in New York. "This opportunity presented itself, and we felt the time was right."


The mobile service announcement follows its plan to buy online business news service MarketWatch and, more recently, the debut of The Wall Street Journal Video Center online. The video center, powered by thePlatform media publishing system, offers video clips of news from Journal reporters and partners such as broadcaster CNBC. Sun Microsystems is the sponsor.


Offering news via many channels in the rapidly evolving media environment is part of Dow Jones' plan for future growth. For example, it is one of the few major media players other than ESPN and CNN to have serious plans for mobile media. Newspapers, except for Financial Times, have been slow to adapt in this area.


The Wall Street Journal Mobile promises to offer the latest business and financial news from the Online Journal at www.wsj.com. Other content includes market, stock and commodities data as well as personalized portfolio information delivered straight to a cell phone.


With this deal, Summus also adapts its Stock Tracker, which already has a few thousand subscribers paying for access.


"They're basically recasting their Stock Tracker paid subscribers," Perry said. "The price won't change."


Professionals who travel frequently are being targeted through ads in Dow Jones media properties for this offering.


"We think there will be some overlap with our existing target audience," Perry said, "but we think there will be room for people who don't surf the Web every day and people who are highly mobile and just want a mobile snapshot. It's part of our mission to touch business people who require business information in as many forms as possible."


Most U.S. wireless carriers have agreed to offer the service. They will bill their customers for the offering and split the revenue with Dow Jones.


Dow Jones said the mobile service will be available on both BREW and Java 2 Micro Edition platforms. Applications can be downloaded to cell phones from carriers' wireless application catalogs.


The publisher has not announced any advertisers for its mobile service.


"Right now we don't have specific plans to have advertisers," Perry said. "Once we've built a large enough base of subscribers, we'll think of adding advertisers."


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