Dow Jones to sell newswires through CEO

NEW YORK, Tue Jul 24, 2012 – When Lex Fenwick started his job as CEO of Dow Jones & Co more than five months ago, he found it strange that one of Wall Street’s most historic and well-known brands did not have a direct pipeline into Wall Street itself.
The 130-year-old publisher of Dow Jones Newswires relies on third parties, including rivals Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters Corp, to deliver its content to banks, brokers and funds; it does not have its own distribution channel.
Fenwick intends to address that with a plan to make the Wall Street Journal’s website a single portal for financial institutions to access all content from Dow Jones, including Newswires and risk and compliance tools.
“Even bloggers have their own distribution platform,” Fenwick, 53, told Reuters in his first interview since Dow Jones’ owner, News Corp, hired the British executive from Bloomberg in February. “For a rich content company to not have a distribution channel directly to an institutional customer seems to be shortsighted,” he said.
Fenwick’s ambitions to sell directly to financial institutions is a change in strategy for Dow Jones. It comes at a critical juncture for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which is preparing to spin off its slower-growing publishing assets from the more lucrative film studio, cable and broadcast TV networks.
As newspapers around the world suffer sharp drop-offs in advertising sales, the standalone publishing company will need to bolster its business with financial institutions and other companies to drive growth.
Fenwick said he intends to raise prices for the newswires, whether customers get them through or through market data platforms sold by Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, FactSet Research Systems Inc and Interactive Data Corp.
That could be a tough sell given that many Wall Street banks, whose profitability has been sagging, are currently cutting staff and seeking to save costs.