The Wall Street Journal revealed some interesting data about readership trends by device and time today at the Business Development Institute's social and mobile conference for Financial Services.

While a live Twitter feed streamed the thoughts of the audience, Michal Shapira, Associate Vice President of Digital Marketing noted that the organization is not just a traditional media company anymore and claimed that, compared to a jury of its peers, the company is number one in terms of mobile access.

Supplementing print readership, the WSJ's desktop, tablet, and phone applications extend the company's product consumption levels far beyond its traditional reading hours.

The news organization's tablet usage (mostly iPad) begins first, at five in the morning, with print following shortly thereafter. As people transit to and arrive at work those consumption methods fall precipitously.

Subsequently, mobile phone and desktop access rise, then hold steady throughout the remainder of the working day. Tablet usage begins to pick up again in the evening, and usage of WSJ Live, the company's streaming video app, peaks in the evening at 10pm.

Shapira said that this is evidence of either digital video consumption replacing television, or, additive second-screen viewing. 

In either case, this level of advanced penetration of owned properties throughout an array of devices and content-formats is an impressive success for the 123 year old brand. 

In part, the success of these products is no doubt attributable to the company's aggressive participation in numerous public-ish social media channels. According to a shared slideshow from March, the company maintains over 100 Twitter accounts, with over 2m followers.

Social sharing within Facebook is the largest source of traffic referral, and the company maintains 14 brand pages with 600k likes. The company has additionally embraced Pinterest, and is active on Instagram, where it has over 15k followers.

As brands consider implementing content strategies, they would be wise to pay attention to publications like this. At one point, the Wall Street Journal was just a newspaper. Now, it has the potential to poach eyeballs away from TV advertisers.

It isn't that every brand should desire to become a full-fledged news service, it's that the opportunity to deeply penetrate into the lives of consumers is there, for those who can figure out how to do it.


Published 17 May, 2012 by Sam Dwyer

Sam Dwyer is an Analyst based in Econsultancy's New York office. He can be followed on Twitter @sammydwyer.

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