Dow Jones Reports Strong Quarter Earnings

by , Apr 19, 2006, 6:00 AM
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Thanks to a sustained ad market, Dow Jones on Tuesday reported a first quarter revenue rise of 9.7 percent to $452.2 million, up from $412.1 million during the same period last year. Excluding one-time year-over-year period effects, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and its online counterpart earned $11.4 million or 14 cents per share, up from $9.5 million or 11 cent per share during the same period last year.

Dow Jones Online ad revenues rose 26 percent in the first quarter year-over-year--or 15 percent pro-forma (including MarketWatch 2005 advertising revenue for the full year). Average monthly unique traffic to the free MarketWatch.com site was 5.7 million this quarter--down from 7.1 million last year.

Merrill Lynch, however, was not satisfied with Dow's online ad revenue. "Results were shy of our expectations," read a Merrill report issued Tuesday.

Consumer media revenue of $275.7 million in the first quarter increased 13.4 percent versus the same period a year ago, on a 17.8 percent increase in ad revenue and a 5.1 percent gain in circulation and other revenue.

The Journal did increase its paid subscriber base from 731,000 to 761,000, even though subscriptions were off from their peak of 768,000 late last year.

Dow's recently appointed CEO Rich Zannino said in the earnings report that broad organizational changes were well under way. "Our new organizational structure and leadership team, announced in February, is up and running," said Zannino. "This was the first step in transforming Dow Jones from a channel-focused publishing company to a franchise, market, and customer-focused media company."

Dow Jones is expecting second-quarter profit per share in the 30 cents-per-share range--excluding one-time effects--below analyst estimates of 38 cents.

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