DJ Conference Call Notes

Now that the Murdoch deal is settled, Dow Jones’ earnings reports are of interest to a much smaller universe. But for those who are tracking: Q3 EPS of 27 cents, beating the Street consensus of 22 cents. Revenue rose 19.6 per cent to $493.3 million; net income fell to $13.8 million from $105.4 million a year ago – that number was boosted by a one-time gain.

For newspaper industry watchers, the news continues to be  grim: Circulation was up 7.8%, but ad revenue declined .5%. That is — advertisers were able to reach more people, but paid less to reach each one of them. DJ blamed the decline on a sharp drop in tech ads. WSJ print ads were down 2.9%, digital revs were up 7.8%. One bright spot: Barron’s online, which has been on a tear and saw paid subs increase 61%, to 113,000. Earnings call scheduled for 10am; we’ll update then.

Notes from what will likely be the DJ’s last quarterly earnings call after the jump:

Zannino: Almost all of this is boilerplate from the release. Continuing to get out of newspaper business: now represents 55% of revenue, down from 67%. Operating expenses grew 13%, but ignore those numbers – they include cost of acquisitions. A more honest number would show a decline.

Good news for Rupe: “We are not the wounded and malnourished media dinosaur that many in the press have made us out to be”. A brief, but teary, farewell speech to the Street.

Any significant hurdles before News Corp. deal closes? Not really. Procedural stuff.

You had predicted an uptick in online tech advertising this Q (print tech advertising tanked) did that happpen? Crovitz: No. Online tech ads were flat. More targeted media (read small pubs, networks) gaining share.

Please defend the paid subscription startegy for, which Rupert is about to get rid of. Zaninno argues that they’re already a hybrid model — they have 1 M paid subs but 19M unique monthlies. So we’re already free. Strip out marketwatch and you still have 10M uniques at Concession: Times change,  things change. The  web is evolving. Translation: Whatever you want, Mr. Murdoch. Expending many words here and saying very little. Crovitz: Same argument – we’re already giving away plenty of free stuff.

And that’s it! Next up: Figuring out how to integrate MySpace with the Journal’s Markets section.