Though many media companies are aggressively attempting to attract advertisers who are increasingly turning away from the print platform, the Wall Street Journal is trying a different strategy. According to an internal memo sent to Dow Jones employees by Brian Quinn, vice president and general manager for digital ad sales for the WSJ digital network, the WSJ signed six “launch sponsors” when it created its new iPad app last March. The company charged the six advertisers $400,000 for a two-page ad spread during the app’s four month “launch phase,” which began when Apple released the iPad on April 3 and ends July 31.
Despite advertisers’ enthusiasm — in the memo, Quinn states that the company signed all the sponsors in less than one week — the WSJ apparently decided to limit its initial number of advertisers. Quinn wrote this: “To be honest, we could have sold a lot more but we limited the number of advertisers to six as we didn’t want to have too many advertisers trying to share the page impressions on a device that hadn’t even been introduced yet, and we wanted to create scarcity.”
Apple just released download numbers for apps last week, so advertisers only received information about possible views on Friday. But it seems like the WSJ is feeling pretty good. Not only does the memo take a stab at the New York Times (“Our main competitors such as the New York Times didn’t take advantage of the early opportunity of the iPads and ads, from product development to how they sold it in the market place”), but, according to Business Insider, the app has already earned the WSJ $2.4 million in ad revenue.