Dow Jones Online Revenues Up 30%

Helping to offset a 1.8% decline in ad revenue at the print Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Online saw revenue rise a robust 30% year-over-year, Dow Jones reported during its earnings call Tuesday. Online circulation revenue, meanwhile, rose 13%.

Unique visitors to were up 6.7% from 6.8 million to 7.3 million year-over-year, according to internal Omniture metrics, while page-views rose 3.3% from 110 million to 113 million.

Despite the abundance of free news and analysis online, it appears some consumers are still willing to pay for premium content as Dow reported paid subscription rates for up 20% year-over-year from 776,000 during the first quarter of last year to 931,000 this year.

The rise was due in part to a $99 one-year online-print subscription promotion, according to Dow Jones, which is now including those bundled subscribers who have registered for online. Minus the change, paid subscribers increased a still healthy 9% to 830,000.

Additionally, paid subscriptions to Barron's Online increased 49.2% to 88,000 from 59,000 year-over-year.

Unique visitors to the Dow-owned increased 12.6% to 7.6 million from 6.8 million, while page views increased 14.7% to 242 million from 211 million.

Overall, revenue for Dow Jones increased 17.9% year-over-year to $507.2 million.

"This is the latest indicator that our transformation plan -- aimed at diversifying our heavy reliance on traditional print revenue -- is working," said Rich Zannino, chief executive officer of Dow Jones.

"The acquisition and integration of Factiva, strong growth at our online and Indexes businesses and continued aggressive cost management enabled us to achieve this earnings growth in spite of a 1.8% decline in ad revenue at the U.S. Journal and profit decline at our Local Media Group."

However, the publisher reported a sharp drop in first-quarter earnings year-over-year, including a large accounting gain. Dow earned $22.6 million, or 27 cents per share, versus $61.5 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier.

The year-ago period, however, included a net gain of 60 cents per share from an accounting gain relating to litigation over its former Telerate data delivery service. Excluding these items, earnings rose 71.4 percent to $20.5 million, or 24 cents per share, from $11.4 million, or 14 cents per share, last year.

Added Zannino: "We continue to expect to grow full year 2007 EPS before special items by 25% to 40%."

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