The New York Times has just given its Business Section online a facelift to make it look just like its own home page, a move that will allow it to compete with the Wall Street Journal's main offering, Ad Age reports.
The new homepage for the Business section highlights the importance of this sections with top-left and top-right "rabbit ears" and units that had been only for the paper's standard home page. It also includes a tab with automated latest news from the NYT and other news websites. Its remodeled business section is currently promoting itself on Bloomberg, USA Today, Yahoo, and MSN.
While the newspaper's total staff has been reduced, the Business section has been hiring a number of reporters and editors bringing its business coverage to 85 from 78. The NYT is also benefiting from content published by Dow Jones journalists.
Even though economic news have definitely gained importance with the economic crisis, and the allure of the affluent crowd business newspapers attract have been strong incentives, other motives are behind the initiative.
"Let's face it, our biggest competitor has always been The Wall Street Journal," Business editor for the NYT, Larry Ingrassia said to Ad Age. "That's even more so now since Rupert Murdoch acquired the company. We recognized that we had to be extra sharp and redouble our efforts at competing."
The revamp of the Business section front is the latest move in what seems to be a growing battle between the two newspapers. Last month, the WSJ announced it was stepping into the NYT's territory with the launch of its New York supplement. The supplement seeks to capture New York's affluent readers with local news on current events, culture, and sports. The final goal would be to snatch some high-end advertisers away from the New York Times.
Murdoch, who has accused the NYT of bias in the past, stepped up the war against the NYT by lowering ad prices for the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal - offering up to 80% discounts on full-page ads.
Although the NYT has been considered a second best read for business news for a number of years, its initiative helps it compete with the WSJ in the field that has been the WSJ's core offering. Stepping up its business coverage could also prove to be a financially sound decision. Business newspapers like the Financial Times have had an easier time in getting users to pay for their content on the Internet because they appeal to an audience that values economic information and has the means to pay for it. As the New York Times prepares to erect a paywall next year, amping up its business coverage may prove to be a profitable move.