'There's print, and there's the Journal' – Dow Jones hires Conde vet Josh Stinchcomb as CRO

Josh Stitchcomb joins Dow Jones as its chief experience officer, leaving Conde Nast after 15 years. / Dow Jones

Dow Jones has added Josh Stinchcomb as its global chief revenue officer, head of media sales. Stinchcomb leaves his role as Conde Nast’s chief experience officer, one of many senior roles he held within the magazine publisher. From joining Conde as part of Wired's sales team, he had helped develop its emerging revenue streams.

From evolving the web presence of Wired, Ars Technica, The New Yorker and others, he weaved between digital opportunities, brand partnerships, content creation, and landed into the top experience role in the company. Now as Dow Jones, he heads all revenue across Wall Street Journal portfolio and Dow Jones Media Group's specialist publications.

When he starts on August 27, Dow Jones expects to see him focus on will also see him direct his attention towards the company's burgeoning live journalism, and events, as well as custom content opportunities and other strategic services.

He speaks to The Drum about what he looks to accomplish in his new role, where he’s to oversee current and future streams of income for the Journal, as well as for the imprints under Dow Jones Media Group: Barrons, MarketWatch, and Mansion Global.

“It was a good run,” he says of his chapter at Conde Nast, which started with tech magazine Wired before it was acquired by Conde in 2006. But he expressed his excitement to join Dow Jones, including the challenges of addressing what he calls a ‘lack of creativity’ in marketing to a quite-different audience than those who read Wired, The New Yorker, and Vogue.

“B2B marketing could use some of the creativity from B2C marketing: you're still trying to reach people and you still have to earn their attention. There's an opportunity for marketers to get more creative in how they market and in their storytelling.”

Stinchcomb will report directly to Dow Jones chief William Lewis, with the opportunity to optimize current streams of income for the media brands. The former chief experience officer immediately highlighted the live journalism and events business, of which he believes has a “ton of upside.”

“We know consumers really value the live experience more and more, and where consumers put value, marketers will follow. Some money is flowing there and it is because of two distinct responses to technology. People in an increasingly digitized world sort of crave the real life, but then it’s also this digital sharing of content from the event that makes it sort of viable for marketers to get real scale.”

As for the digital versions of the imprints, Stinchcomb reiterates the opportunities for B2B marketers. “Creativity and marketing through content is a huge opportunity in this space, so I’m excited to dig into the Custom Studios here. They’ve already done some great work, but I think there’s a lot more we could do together.”

For the print versions of Dow Jones and DJMG content, Stinchcomb is asked about the perils facing the space and doesn’t show worry.

“There's print generally, and there's the Wall Street Journal.”

He adds: “I don't think you can paint them all with one brush. The way I think about print is: yes, as there are more channels to consume content from, you're going to get some readers who decide that they like to read it online. That may have previously been a print reader, but the ones who remained in print aren't doing it because there's not another option, but are doing it because they liked the format.

“I would argue that on a per capita basis, print advertising is going to become more valuable because it's very much opt-in. It's a decision and then there's all the research that shows that retention is better.

“Print doesn't have an ad problem. It has a time-spent problem in aggregate. But, I think there are some brands that will buck that trend. You know, the New Yorker had a campaign that said ‘There's magazines and there's The New Yorker.’ So there's newspapers and then there's the Journal. I'm very bullish on print, but it's obviously just one piece of the solution.”

Stinchcomb dives deeper into the opportunities in branded content, as well as his thoughts on emerging tech partnerships for the properties under his purview.

On branded content, he believes that no one’s come to a consensus on the perfect advertorial solution. “It’s a complicated space, and I think you have more and less sophisticated marketers in terms of knowing what exactly they want and knowing how to tie what they want back to business results.”

He continues: “At a fundamental level it used to be you could just sort of get people in your line of fire and sort of bombard them with marketing messages. You can't buy attention, especially on digital platforms where it's much more self-directed. We've almost entered this permission-based advertising environment, where people have to opt into the marketing. And if that's the bar, you've got to be as interesting as anything else.”

Stinchcomb feels a similar hesitance towards emerging tech being a potential solution just yet. “I think it serves purposes for marketers who want press and buzz and you gotta find the right partner who understands why they want to do something in this space. It's not going to be for massive reach, it’s not going to be for clear metrics.”

However, he believes: “You've got to start experimenting. There is a cool opportunity there, because as I said about branded content, it goes down to bringing creativity to the delivery of branded content in a B2B capacity.”

Dow Jones has recently taken a small step towards its future as a media group with a redesign of Penta, the luxury and lifestyle content section of Barron’s. And recently, it was announced that over three million people are subscribers amongst all Dow Jones/DJMG imprints.

The addition of Stinchcomb is one that he personally hopes can help drive the group even further forward as a publisher. For him, it goes down to how he and his team approach their work with brands.

“You can't be in the business of selling products like ‘Hey, I have these new products — come and buy them,’” he says. “I think historically media thought of their business as being paid to distribute something when it fact its being paid to deliver some result.

"That can be through insights, that can be through creative work or distribution or some combination, but don't assume the products until you know the solution. And I think that's the difference between being like a solutions-based seller versus someone who's just hawking your goods.”

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