["I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." - George Best
Dow Jones’ ‘SmartMoney’ Folds Print Edition
By Lucia Moses
Dow Jones & Co. said it would stop publishing SmartMoney in print this summer while expanding its digital operation. The 815,154-circulation monthly’s September print issue, on stands Aug. 14, will be its last.
Dow Jones and Hearst Corp. started the magazine four years ago and operated it jointly, with Hearst managing the business operations and Dow Jones overseeing the editorial function. Two years ago, Dow Jones bought out Hearst’s portion of the business. The magazine has collected three National Magazine Awards, and helped give David Carey, its onetime publisher and now president of Hearst Magazines, his start in the industry.
Personal finance magazines have been facing relevancy issues as people more often go online for money advice. The year started off tough for magazine advertising in general, but personal finance titles have been particularly hard hit.
SmartMoney’s ad pages fell 23.4 percent to 67 in the first quarter of this year versus the year-ago period, per the Publishers Information Bureau. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s pages fell 34 percent to 53 in the same period, and Money’s by 14 percent to 92.
“What consumer wants financial advice in 30-day increments?” Scott Daly, evp and executive media director at Dentsu America, said in an email. “Not this guy. How can I recommend that to a client with a straight face?”
SmartMoney will seek to expand its digital reach by adding six new editorial staffers for a total of 15, but there will be a net loss in staff as about 25 positions attached to the print edition will be lost. SmartMoney’s content will live on at SmartMoney.com as well as in a section of the much-larger MarketWatch.com.
With the final issue, subscribers will have the option to receive Barron’s or WSJ Weekend in lieu of SmartMoney.
BoSacks Speaks Out: Note that the following spin is the report from the WSJ on the same story.
By JOHN JANNARONE And WILLIAM LAUNDER
Dow Jones & Co. said Thursday it will stop publishing the print version of SmartMoney, although it will expand the personal-finance magazine’s digital platform.
Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp., which also publishes The Wall Street Journal, said it would add six new positions to SmartMoney.com’s editorial staff but eliminate
25 jobs related to the print edition production. The last issue of the monthly magazine will be September’s, available on Aug. 14.
“It’s clear that the volatility of markets and asset classes has increased the need for rapid delivery of personal finance intelligence, so we will be expanding our team and presence on the Web,” said Robert Thomson, editor in chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.
SmartMoney is among the largest monthly personal-finance magazines, with a circulation of 813,730 last year, compared with 818,526 in 2007, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Rival magazine Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has a circulation of about 628,000 and Money has roughly 1.9 million readers, the ABC says. All three magazines have struggled to increase circulation in recent years.
The decision to halt publication of SmartMoney is one of the first major changes at Dow Jones since the arrival in February of Lex Fenwick as chief executive. In
2010, Dow Jones acquired from Hearst Corp. the 50% interest in SmartMoney it didn’t already own. Hearst and Dow Jones jointly launched SmartMoney in 1992.
More changes appear to be in store at Dow Jones. In an internal memo to employees Thursday, Mr. Thomson said there are other “just-approved expansion plans” for The Wall Street Journal but didn’t provide any specifics. Earlier this week, Dow Jones announced a reorganization of management and the resignation of Todd Larsen from his role as president.
Dow Jones said all content and tools from SmartMoney.com will become available on a new co-branded personal finance section on its MarketWatch.com financial-information site . In May, MarketWatch.com had 5.3 million unique visitors, up 50% from the same month of 2011. SmartMoney.com’s unique visitor count has increased 14% over the same period to 1.6 million people