Financial Website Rankings For July: WSJ Digital, No Murdoch Goldmine

It appears that the speculation about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWS)  making the WSJ online edition free to expand its audience may not make sense. Based on measurements from Net Ratings, Wall Street Journal Digital has almost 8.2 million unique visitors a month, and the average visitor spent just under 20 minutes on the sites last month.

While the Dow Jones (DJ) sites have only about half the unique visitors that Yahoo! Finance (YHOO) has at 16.8 million, a great deal of the WSJ and Barron’s online content is only available to paid subscribers. It would not be hard to imagine the number of visitors going up by 5x to 10x if all of that content became free. And, the Net Ratings numbers only include US visitors.

But, as Silicon Alley Investor points out, even a large web audience might bring in enough money to offset closing or cutting back circulation of the print paper.

This year, The will bring in about $20 million in advertising revenue. It had 3.1 million unique visitors last month.

Even if Wall Street Journal Digital could get its audience up to 66 million uniques, an ambitious eight-fold increase, annual advertising revenue would only be about $450 million, based on extrapolating from TSCM numbers. That isn’t enough to offset Dow Jones huge editorial and sales costs.

Brand or Channel Unique Audience (000) Time Per Person (hh:mm:ss)
Yahoo! Finance                        16,851 0:22:52
MSN Money                        11,672 0:17:47
AOL Money & Finance                        10,530 0:15:16
Wall Street Journal Digital                         8,160 0:19:25
CNNMoney                         8,113 0:14:21                         7,775 0:05:03
Reuters                         6,994 0:05:32                         3,481 0:06:14
Motley Fool                         3,310 0:17:24                         3,104 0:08:08                         3,029 0:07:25
BusinessWeek Online                         2,912 0:03:59
American City Business Journals Network                         2,759 0:04:40                         2,250 0:05:41 Business & Finance                         2,164 0:02:20
Smartmoney                         2,068 0:10:01 Money                         1,608 0:03:49                         1,517 0:02:47
Hoover’s Online                         1,397 0:02:43
Morningstar                         1,291 0:09:39

Douglas A. McIntyre