The Wall Street Journal has been pursuing a strategy of creating international partnerships to advance its critically acclaimed journalism, recently partnering with the Toronto Star to launch the Star Business Journal.
The Star met Monday with Jonathan Wright, global managing director at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, to discuss his company’s move into international partnerships and the partnership with the Star, which launched on June 12.
How is the Journal’s partnership with the Star going so far?
I think that now more than ever, there is a need for professional journalism. I think that we’ve seen in recent surveys, a decline in trust in some of the social media platforms, and I think we’ve seen in some cases a flight to professional journalism. We’ve won just under 40 Pulitzer Prizes. We have great content. Torstar has a great history of professional journalism. By bringing both these offerings together, I think the initial reaction has been very positive. I think for that reason, both parties are very excited about what this can become and how it can grow.
How many other partnerships of this kind does the Wall Street Journal have?
All partnerships are different, they have different elements to them, but I would say in terms of partnerships that encompass content and subscriptions, we have about 30 around the world currently.
How do you avoid overlap between countries and publications?
We keep a very close eye on it, whether it’s our partnerships in Australia or Korea or Thailand or Nigeria or South Africa — on our own subscriptions as well as those of our partners. We’ve found in the last two and half years, no issue with crossover or cannibalization.
Are you worried about watering down the product?
No. The content is at the core of everything we do. The content is the most important thing.
How do you see the financial media evolving?
I think professional media and financial media are at a real tipping point at the moment. I think that we have seen, certainly, an erosion of trust in some of these social platforms and some of these entities have looked to commoditize the news that we create. I think the impetus is on professional news, financial publishers included, to work out what is the business model in this very disruptive environment that actually protects professional journalism for the future. One of the reasons we think the partnership is so well suited with Torstar is, I think, both groups agree with the importance of free, independent, professional journalism, and one of the reasons for the partnership is to help enhance the business models that helps secure its future.
So is this part of finding new revenue streams?
Yes. I think it absolutely is part of that. It’s more part of growing membership, growing subscriptions. Our journalists around the world are writing some of the best content out there, covering myriad topics, not just finance, business, politics and economics, the WSJ magazine is one of the most read lifestyle magazines in the world. I think this is part of bringing that content to a wider audience.