Late last week, News Corp addressed investors with a slide presentation that outlines the future of their massive content network. Their overall plan for success is to create great content, make it available across a dozen different platforms, then sell it for a reasonable price. Sounds simple when you put it that way.
Since 52% of the company’s revenue comes from advertising, the real secret is making properties such as The Wall Street Journal sticky. And how much do you love that term?
The plan, is to turn The Wall Street Journal into a destination for business men and women. Not just a place to read the news, but a place to network, exchange ideas and even store personal information.
The first piece of the puzzle was a section called My Portfolio. This app lets WSJ subscribers track their investments and get relevant news all on the same page. It’s an excellent example of how to personalize global content.
The next piece is a social network to rival LinkedIn.
Subscribers will have their own profile page which links them to customers with similar interests. The site will be designed to encourage social sharing and conversation. It’s hard to see in this image but the profile page includes sections for Work Experience, Affiliations, Awards, Education and Contact Information. A the bottom is a custom news feed and tabs for My Research, My Portfolio, My Blog and My Recommendations.
There’s also a “Chat” button that presumably leads to an instant messaging system. Beneath that are comments people have left on the profile.
Looking at this, I wonder when we stopped calling these things forums and started calling them social networks. The main difference is the focus. Social networks start with a person and ideas radiate and bounce back from there. Forums start with an idea (a thread) and people come in to leave their a opinions. Both are about connecting people who are interested in the same things and both are about conversation but social networks are more about the “me, me, me.” Or am I off base?
Look, the Internet doesn’t need another massive social network, but I still think this is a good plan. If they can get it rolling, it will increase time on site and in turn increase ad dollars. As a side benefit, consumers might find a new boss, a mentor or a soul mate. That’s nice.
Do I think WSJ is going to put LinkedIn out of business? No. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.