April 2, 2008
The worldwide business journalism war has begun. The Wall Street Journal will begin printing its U.S. edition in London starting April 16, making the American paper available in the central part of the city several hours before it’s available in the States.
The move fulfills the promise News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch made when he bought the Journal last year: to expand its international presence and go head-to-head with the Financial Times.
The U.S. edition will be in addition to The Wall Street Journal Europe, which has circulation of around 220,000 copies across the continent and the UK.
Though the American paper will be distributed by around 250 news agents and have a circulation of just 3,500 copies, observers see the launch as being aimed at the Financial Times on the Pearson-owned paper’s home turf.
“This is primarily a shot at the Financial Times, which is a major competitor of the Journal over there,” said newspaper analyst John Morton. “And bear in mind, though it’s a small number, this will be 3,500 of the most financially important people in London.”
Mr. Murdoch has a history of conducting newspaper wars with little regard for how much it costs him to take away market share from competitors. He paid $5.6 billion to purchase Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Journal.
The expensive acquisition was designed to hurt The New York Times and to make News Corp’s nascent Fox Business Network more competitive with rival cable network CNBC.
Having the four-section U.S. edition available in London could give the Journal more influence in political and business circles.
“We’re offering the U.S. edition of the Wall Street Journal to London readers in a particularly significant year for global business and political issues, with the credit crunch crisis and U.S. elections making front-page news most days,” said Michael Bergmeijer, managing director of Dow Jones’ consumer media group in Europe, in a statement.
Ths item appeared April 2, 2008 in Crain's New York Business (www.crainsnewyork.com), where it was written by Matthew Flamm (firstname.lastname@example.org).