WSJ Has Booming Growth with Redesign, Up 160% in April, Nielsen — The Times Disputes its Numbers

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By on 05/17/2009 7:04 PM @beet_tv

The Wall Street Journal's web site has jumped to more that 12 million monthly unique visitors in April, an increase of 160 percent over the same period last year, according a Nielsen Online report published today in Editor & Publisher.

Wsj.logo We surmise that a big part of the jump has resulted from the complete site redesign which was implemented in September.  We assume that the financial crisis has driven considerable traffic.

Internal Wall Street Journal Memo

Trumpeting the news to the staff on Friday, Alan Deputy Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal, whose responsibility includes the paper's online operations and Almar Latour, managing editor of the WSJ.com, sent around this memo to the WSJ.com staff on the growth:

Folks –
 
We'd like to alert you to a significant milestone achieved by WSJ.com in April. 
 
Nielsen recorded a 160% increase in visitors to the site from a year earlier, for a record total of 12.4 million.  No other major news site is growing at anything remotely close to that pace.  The New York Times, for instance, had a decrease in traffic over the same period.
 
The Nielsen numbers have their problems.  Our internal metrics suggest an much larger audience.  Yet the base is consistent, so the trends are real.
 
We believe there are a number of important reasons for that growth:
 
-Your enthusiasm in reporting, writing and rapidly filing speedies/urgents is making our online news more dynamic than ever.
 
-Our multimedia content is richer than it has ever been – with your articles supplemented by videos, information graphics, slideshows, audio presentations, etc.
 
-We are engaging with readers more deeply than ever before – our comments sections have become venues for a kind of rich and intelligent conversation that is unique on the web.  And our real-time columns have pioneered a new form of journalism, at once well-reported, conversational and interactive.
 
-Our business model is working.  As we expanded our audience in the last year, we also grew our online subscriber base.  We now have more than one million online subscribers.   Advertising revenues and subscription revenues have both grown over the year, in spite of a weak economy, and we have plans that will keep them both growing in the future.
 
-We are investing in our products.  This week marked the successful launch of the new MarketWatch.com – be sure to check it out.  In the past year, we have revamped WSJ.com; launched new web sites in Europe, Asia and India; launched a hugely successful new iPhone app (nearly 400,000 downloads already.)  And there is much more on the drawing board for the coming year.
 
At the core of all of this is the one thing that has always made the Wall Street Journal great: superb journalism, written and edited with accuracy and integrity by an unmatched team of talented journalists.   As long as we have that, we can be sure of success, no matter where the economy or technology may take us.
 
— Alan & Almar


Alan told me late today that part of the growth can be attributed to the success in creating social networks within the WSJ.com.

In September, the day after the redesign when live, I interviewed Alan.  I have reposted the interview today.  He explains the approach to social networking on the site.

Meanwhile at The New York Times

While the Journal is on a tear, Nielsen reports the Times is down 8 percent for the month.  A Times spokesperson tells Jen Saba at E&P that the paper is disputing the results with Nielsen and says "We believe their data is in error…."

Wall Street Journal Online — 12,398,000 — 160%
USATODAY.com — 11,987,000 — 12%
washingtonpost.com — 10,232,000 — 8%
LA Times — 8,418,000 — 18%

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

More analysis of the Nielsen numbers by Staci Kramer at paidContent.

You can also find me these days in the media section of the Huffington Post.

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