Monday, April 26th, 2010

Crazy Memos: Arthur Sulzberger Flips Out on 'Wall Street Journal'

ARTIE O. S'BURGERTimes publisher Arthur Sulzberger and his trusty CEO Janet Robinson sent out a snide, braggy memo congratulating the Wall Street Journal on the launch of its New York section. It is wildly out of whack in terms of tone; yet it is sort of admirably hostile, in a way? Except that then doesn't one figure that such a hostile "big barking dog" strategy really just mean you're weaker than anyone expects? Read for yourself and decide. I guess I least enjoy having the ad demographics displayed as a measure of worth. I'm sure the paper does have rich readers! And here's the rest of us, dragging down your market demo. Sorry!

Subject: A note from Arthur and Janet about the Wall Street Journal launch

On the Record . . . From Arthur + Janet

Vol. 4 2010: A New Competitor Arrives

Some folks just have a different learning curve.

After 120 years of existence, The Wall Street Journal this morning has finally decided to cover New York north of Wall Street. In the spirit of journalistic camaraderie, we welcome the Journal's new local section. The New York Times has been the paper of record in New York for nearly 160 years, and we know just how difficult it can be for start-ups to develop a following.

While there will be much sound and fury to this new endeavor, we thought we would take this opportunity to remind everyone about our position of strength in the New York marketplace. We will include a series of numbers that, to borrow a phrase often misused, are "fair and balanced."

Let us start with our audience in The New York Times. As our straightforward and accurate ad campaign points out (and if you get a chance, take a look at our dynamite new commercial:

o On weekdays, The Times newspaper reaches over 900,000 affluent adults in the New York market (2009, Scarborough NYR2, Weekday). The median household income for a reader of the Sunday New York Times is over $118,000 (Fall 2009, MRI). In fact, The New York Times in print delivers an outstanding household net worth of almost $800 billion in the New York DMA alone (2009 Mendelsohn Affluent Head of Household Survey, HHI, $100,000+).

o The weekday Times reaches 827,000 business professionals, 1,149,255 art enthusiasts and 1,734,360 women in the New York market.

o Our audience is the most influential; The New York Times weekday edition ranks Number One of 129 U.S. print, cable and broadcast media, reaching 61% of all U.S. opinion readers (Erdos & Morgan 2008-2009 U.S. Opinion Leaders Study).

Of course, The New York Times remains the definitive advertising vehicle in the New York marketplace for reaching a diverse audience:

o The New York Times has a 49% print share among the three national newspapers (Kantar Media, full year through December 2009; excludes in-house ads). The others happen to be The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

o Across key measures for advertising effectiveness, scores above industry averages – readers remember New York Times ads and are more likely to consider buying products advertised on the site (Dynamic Logic Market Norms, Q4 2008).

o We dominate the luxury advertising market with lush, brand-appropriate retail and editorial environments like T: The New York Times Style Magazine and the Style, Travel, Dining and Home sections.

Advertisers know that Times readers are significant consumers of, well, everything:

o New York Times readers spend $3.2 billion on apparel and accessories; $698 million on jewelry; and $373 million on fragrance, cosmetics and skin care products (Mendelsohn Affluent Head of Household Survey, HHI $100,000+).

o Times readers, who attend live entertainment events, go on average to four Broadway plays a year (2008-2009 Broadway League Demographics Study and NYT Customer Insight Group, January 2010).

o And book advertisers constantly tell us that nothing raises awareness like a New York Times review. Our readers purchased almost 56 million books in 2008 (MRI Spring 2009).

We could go on and on with favorable reader and advertising comparisons. We could also talk forever about our award-winning, agenda-changing journalism and how we set the standard in New York in so many different areas, from art, health and real estate to fashion, entertainment and politics.

The Wall Street Journal already knows our readers and advertisers are very loyal to The New York Times and it will soon discover the intensity of that dedication, as The Times is a great newspaper, a great Web site and a great advertising vehicle.

So as our welcome gift to New York, we pass on a few helpful hints to our Journal colleagues: the Dodgers now play in Los Angeles, Soho is the acronym for South of Houston, Fashion Week has moved to Lincoln Center, Idlewild is now JFK and Cats is no longer playing on Broadway.

If you happen to know anyone who works for the Journal's new section and he or she wants any additional information about the greater New York region, tell them to check out's always very helpful archive.

Arthur and Janet

22 Comments / Post A Comment

sigerson (#179)

The "Greater New York" section is laid out on my desk presently. I am curious as to why a column on the proper method of swiping one's subway card was deemed appropriate, given that no one I know uses the subway (and neither do many of the other WSJ subscribers that I just informally polled). Also, putting the weather below the fold is bizarre.

hugesunglasses (#2,696)

Ooh,ooh, can we use this passage for the next installment of "Rich People Things?"

sigerson (#179)

I hope you can see the tongue in my cheek…

irishbreakfast (#4,123)

I love the coupling of the WSJ and USA Today–this is passive-agressive writing at its best.
A side note: does the Awl have lush editorial environments? I gather that there are lushes in your e.e., but perhaps the NYT is showing you a different way to attract affluent adults?

Full speed ahead, there can't be any icebergs this far south.

jfruh (#713)

"The New York Times weekday edition ranks Number One of 129 U.S. print, cable and broadcast media, reaching 61% of all U.S. opinion readers"

Ugh, the capital N and capital O made me die a little inside. As did "opinion readers." Plus: Number One what? Number One reacher of opinion readers?

"Times readers, who attend live entertainment events, go on average to four Broadway plays a year"


"And book advertisers constantly tell us that nothing raises awareness like a New York Times review."

"…which you can totally buy, which advertising money! Wait, did I say that last part out loud?"

alannaofdoom (#4,512)

Yeah, can someone please parse that "opinion readers" sentence for me? I mean, I know what all those words mean separately, but when you string them together in that order…

Steve (#1,777)

It still boggles my mind every day that the Times doesn't use a serial comma.

ericdeamer (#945)

Well I guess I'm not rich enough to read our fancypants paper then! That does it, I'm switching over to the Journal, the newspaper for the common man!

ericdeamer (#945)

"your" not "our". Sorry.

brent_cox (#40)

I'm just crossing my fingers for a price war.

KarenUhOh (#19)


Clerk: Is there really anything close to enough in there to make the Sun-Times [sic] worth six bucks?

Me: [Lying] Um. . .Sometimes. The price is outrageous, I know. But they don't make any money anyway.

Clerk: What the hell do they need money for? I seen those watches they advertise in there.

Me: My parrot told me he wants one. What am I gonna do now?

hockeymom (#143)

Your clerk brought up something I think about…more often than I care to admit!
Every year, the New York Times has a special, glossy, magazine section devoted entirely to watches. I assume the entire thing is just a large ad buy, pretending the be journalism. Or does someone at the Times have some weird obsession with watches? And if it is an ad buy, do watch makers really have that kind of dough…because it's a slick looking special section.
And why do these questions rattle around in my brain with some frequency?

Rebecca (#3,032)

I delivered a monologue on Sunday because after having waited until then to start the magazine–even though it is delivered on Saturdays–I discovered that a passerby had torn out the crossword (I had even picked it up before 8am?!). Expletives!!

MaryHaines (#3,666)

I passed a newsstand in the Atlanta airport not long ago and heard one woman say to another, upon spotting the Sunday NYT on display: "Six dollars for a newspaper?! I could get a magazine for that!"

"You do get a magazine for that," I thought but did not say. (It's not much of a magazine, but still, it's on glossy paper, which I guess is how we gauge how much we're willing to pay for reading material.)

hockeymom (#143)

Swiss watchmakers are to the NYTimes as the Moonies are to the Washington Times?

mathnet (#27)

"827,000 business professionals, 1,149,255 art enthusiasts and 1,734,360 women"

KarenUhOh (#19)

And only 40 of them the same person.

Idlewild! That is such a cool name.

ericdeamer (#945)

I remember when the bar of the same name still existed some publication referred to it as "more idle than wild". Zing!

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