The Wall Street Journal is cutting back the size of its newspaper as part of a redesign that will save it $18 million per year, the newspaper's publisher Dow Jones & Co. said Tuesday.
The changes will be phased in over the next few months and continue through next year, with the smaller format appearing in January 2007 after the presses in the Journal's 17 printing locations are adjusted.
The main cost savings will come from using less newsprint as the newspaper reduces its width by about the size of one of its six columns, or about 20 percent.
Many other newspapers have also reduced their size in recent years, responding to higher newsprint costs and research finding that many readers prefer smaller newspapers.
The Journal had long held out against reducing its size, but a prolonged slump in financial and technology advertising has badly hurt the newspaper, where advertising volume has declined every year since 2001.
The Journal's editor, Paul Steiger, said in a statement that the design changes would result in a more convenient format, having fewer stories "jump" to inside pages; devoting less space to market statistics; including more links to the Journal's online edition, and using more "signposts" to guide readers to stories.
The Journal has made several other changes in recent years in hopes of bringing in more readers and advertisers, most recently the launch of a Saturday edition last month.
The paper also introduced an extra section called Personal Journal in 2002, at the same time it added more color to its pages, redesigned its typeface and made other format changes. And in 1998, the Journal introduced a leisure and lifestyle section called Weekend Journal which has proven to be a hit with advertisers.
Dow Jones has made other design changes recently to cut costs, including scaling back its Asian business magazine, the Far Eastern Economic Review, and reformatting its Asian and European editions to a more compact format.
Peter Kann, the CEO of Dow Jones, said the changes in the U.S. Journal would result in $13 million in one-time training, development and marketing costs, and then annual savings of about $18 million, mainly from lower newsprint use.
Paul Ginocchio, a newspaper industry analyst with Deutsche Bank, applauded Dow Jones's efforts to save money, but also wondered whether the changes also indicated weaker expectations for revenue growth going forward. "There's a view from Dow Jones that they need to keep taking costs out of the business," Ginocchio said.