Newfronts: “This is not your father’s Wall Street Journal”

/ Apr 29, 2013

VI - WSJNewsfront

“This is not your father’s Wall Street Journal” was the refrain throughout the publication’s digital upfronts presentation. From Mimosas and Bloody Marys served at 9am to celebrities like Lupe Fiasco and MC Hammer conversing onstage, the newspaper’s stuffy brand may very well be history.

Despite citing 125% growth in video over the past year, the publication’s newfronts presentation did not focus on new video content but moreso on the brands ability to deliver content to any screen across any category – finance, politics, sports, celebrity / entertainment and international relations.

“WSJ Startup of the Year”  – where 25 aspiring entrepreneurs pitch to mentors and business supporters – was one of the only new content the newspaper announced it would be producing in the coming year. The rest of the video presentation was devoted to programming the WSJ is already doing like “The Business of Celebrity,” which they taped a live segment with Lupe Fiasco as part of today’s presentation.

The lack of new programming could be in part because the WSJ views the Newfronts right now more as an educational tool for buyers more than an actual ad sales strategy.

More interesting was WSJ Publisher Lex Fenwick’s assertion that the WSJ is not just a content company, but a technology and customer service company too.  Touting a recently launched platform that allows users to upload their portfolio products, which they can then monitor in real time, Fenwick explained there are currently 10 billion dollars in assets on their portfolio platform.

Since most of the presentation is for advertisers to buy, some of the truths touted by the WSJ speakers had to be taken with a grain of salt. The WSJ’s assertion that they are “truly the first global content provider,” “we have the most compelling content” and the “most trusted and credible news source” come off more as sales pitches than objective facts.

The WSJ will open international sites in the future, including in Korea and Brazil. “Our content travels the world extremely well” said Fenwick. Successful digital in this day and age requires a global audience, so the WSJ keeping this in mind bodes well for the newspaper’s future.

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