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

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, sent around this memo to the staff on the growth:

Folks –
We'd like to alert you to a significant milestone achieved by 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 – be sure to check it out.  In the past year, we have revamped; 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

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% — 11,987,000 — 12% — 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.

Recent Videos
Upfronts Won’t Die In TV Renaissance: Magna Global’s Bayer

FORT LAUDERDALE — If you think the coming age of buying addressable, internet-style ads in the blink of an eye is going to mean an end to the TV ad industry as we know it, think again. “I think we’ve entered …a renaissance of television,”Matt Bayer, SVP of advanced TV at Magna ...

Brienna Pinnow, Experian
Experian Gearing To Launch Connected Addressable TV Platform

FORT LAUDERDALE — “This has really been the year of addressable TV. We’ve done literally triple the amount of work compared to 2014,” according to Experian addressable advertising product lead Brienna Pinnow. Now the data company wants to do more? But what exactly? “To develop ...

More Safeguards Needed For Dynamic Ad Creative: Bank of America’s Paskalis

The concept of dynamic ad insertion – through which, consumers would get served a brand ad with different content, depending on their targeting profile – has been talked about for a couple of years now. The exciting reality may be around the corner, if the industry can persuade brands it is a ...

Context Of Viewing Still Matters To Ads: Videology’s CEO

Now that online video ad targeting technology can reach advertisers’ ideal audiences wherever they are watching, what is the use for the old model, in which buyers place their bets on shows with audiences they believed to be matched? The new doesn’t have to trump the old, says video ad tech ...

Too Soon For Dynamic Creative Ads: DISH’s Gaynor

Super-targeted TV advertising is just around the corner, but don’t expect the content of those ads to be served dynamically just yet. That’s according to DISH media sales and analytics VP Adam Gaynor. In this video interview with Beet.TV, he says: “Advertisers no longer need to use ...

Castree On Videology’s “Sand, Rocks & Boulders”

FORT LAUDERDALE — It’s one of the major ad tech vendors promising to define the emerging video advertising space. But what is going on at Videology lately? The way North America MD Tim Castree describes, Videology is a little bit like geology… “Sand — How we can use our ...

Cut The Fraud Bull From Ad Pricing: GroupM’s Gotlieb

If you want to price digital advertising appropriately, don’t just look at the rapidly-growing supply of inventory, look beneath the surface for what is really real. That’s according to veteran ad exec Irwin Gotlieb, the chairman of ad group GroupM. “Supply measured without taking in to ...

Context Still Matters For TV Ads: FreeWheel’s Rothwell

Does the coming age of one-to-one, super-personalized TV ads make the traditional process of buying ads against shows of a particular type dead in the water? Not at all, says FreeWheel agency and brand relations VP James Rothwell, whose company helps place video ads. “Context still matters,” ...

Data Will Set Context Free: SMG’s Scheppach

Advertisers are getting excited by the possibilities for super-targeted TV marketing promised by new ad tech platforms. In fact, to many, it looks like the days of traditional TV ads, which are bought against the context of demographic audience profiles, are numbered. But things are set for a correction, ...

How Simulmedia Tracks The ROI Of Linear TV: VP Storan

FORT LAUDERDALE — It may be old-fashioned linear TV, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring internet-like next-gen ad measurement to the ‘ol box. That’s what Simulmedia, the ad technology vendor, is doing. Although the company focuses on helping clients find the best inventory ...

Two Steps To Scaling Addressable TV Heights: Invision’s Marshall

FORT LAUDERDALE — This year, the promise of “addressable TV”, allowing advertisers to target individual TV sets, became a reality. But it remains just a slither of a US TV industry that is worth circa $75 billion. “There’s two parts to scaleability with addressable:,” says ...

TV Ad Super-Targeting Is Ready To Scale: Eyeview CEO

FORT LAUDERDALE — Last year was been characterized by the industry wondering when TV platforms would open up to support addressable TV advertising. This year seems to have been characterized by actual roll-out. Next year could mean larger-scale adoption. “The concept of being able to target ...