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Wall Street Journal Plans Weekend Edition

Dow Jones & Co. will break a 51-year tradition and return to publishing The Wall Street Journal six days a week. The first weekend issue is planned for Sept. 10, 2005.

Priced at $1.50 on newsstands versus $1 for the weekday Journal, the weekend edition will cover business and financial news through the close of Friday’s global markets. It also will feature a new section called Pursuits that extends its Business of Life franchise.

“From a business and advertising standpoint this is a big opportunity for incremental advertising,” said Scott Schulman, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Journal. “There is a tremendous amount of advertising money spent over the weekend, particularly in categories like automotive, travel and high-end products.”

The weekend edition is expected to lure advertisers in consumer categories such as automotive, travel, wine and spirits, apparel, retail and other lifestyle products and services. Another area for advertisers is personal finance, a subject many households dwell on over the weekend.

“This is very much positioned as an all-weekend publication,” Schulman said. “We envision this as a product that comes in early Saturday, but there are portions of the publication — Pursuits — that people will read through the weekend.”

With this extension, the Journal will take on rivals like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, all newspapers with sizable weekend editions. It also will compete directly with Financial Times, which publishes a weekend edition, and traditional business magazines.

Under current plans, the weekend edition will be delivered free to all Journal subscribers and be sold on newsstands nationwide. Subscribers can provide a separate address for weekend delivery. Sixty-seven percent of the Journal’s subscribers get their copy at home.

Tactics such as print ads and direct mail will work to persuade current subscribers to ask for a weekend edition Journal at home. Similar marketing will be used to generate new subscribers and newsstand buyers.

“Readers have overwhelmingly said that they will happily give us their home address,” Schulman said. “Plus, we anticipate a lot of benefits from pass-along readership — husbands and wives sharing copies at home.”

Like its weekday counterpart, the weekend Journal is planned as a broadsheet. It will include the Journal’s trademark What’s News section on the cover. The Money & Investing report, now in the Monday and Friday editions, will follow. Then there are the Pursuits lifestyle pages.

Pursuits originates from the Journal’s Business of Life franchise, which grew from the 6-year-old Weekend Journal on Friday and the 2-year-old, Tuesday-through-Thursday Personal Journal sections.

“Pursuits will address a number of topics not always covered in the Weekend Journal section, such as destination travel, design, recipes, shopping, etc.,” said Nicole C. Pyhel, senior manager of corporate communications at Dow Jones. “There will be a few overlapping topics, but they will be treated with a different editorial focus.”

The publisher reports Personal Journal ad revenue is up almost 60 percent this year. Weekend Journal revenue is growing at a compound annual 17 percent clip since the section’s debut in 1998.

Weekend edition content also will appear on The Wall Street Journal Online’s WSJ.com. The print Journal has a U.S. circulation of 1.8 million, and the online version has 684,000 paid subscribers worldwide. Combined, the publication has 2.1 million unique print and online subscribers.

Founded in 1889, the Journal was published on all days except Sunday until 1953, when the New York Stock Exchange ended Saturday trading. Shifting gears after more than a half-century requires much planning, hence the advance notice.

“We need to announce this well in advance to our advertisers and to organize our home delivery strategy,” Schulman said. “This is part of the overall growth platform for the Journal. We’re in it for the long haul. There’s good reason to hope 2005 will be a better year than 2004.”

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