WSJ: Free or Paid? (Yes)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 | 06:40 AM

Traffic_msm Early 2006, I gave some unsolicited advice to the WSJ about their blogging efforts (WSJ Joins the Blogging Crowd). That was well received, and eventually, I did some (unpaid) consulting for about blogging, as well as other mainstream financial publications. Good will and all that.

Often, the advice I give is initially ignored, and then, slowly and reluctantly, adopted.

Since then, Rupert Murdoch took over Dow Jones, and there have been further discussions about whether or not should be subscription only or free.

Let me repeat the suggestion I made so long ago: Move the WSJ/Dow Jones archives out from behind the subscription-only firewall. Keep the most recent WSJ subscription only -- perhaps 30 days, but certianly no more than 90 days maximum.

I cannot see why would want to give up ~$65 million dollars per year in annual revenue. But we know that freeing the archives means that the Google bots will be spidering this content, and eventually identifying WSJ pages as search results. Dow Jones advertisers will be seeing their ads served more often, and the additional click thrus and page views will only accrue more revenue to DJ.

To overcome corporate resistance, start at 90 days, then go to 60, 30, with my ideal goal would be to get the Journal's sub-only content to 30 days, and eventually, just 7 days. The MBAs may choke over this, but by doing it gradually, it will allow the traffic, advertising and subscription data to be reviewed. (it also has the added benefit of allowing their little MBA pea brains to adapt to the concept slowly).

The freshest content goes to the users willing to pay for it -- highest value consumers -- while the rest of the content generates advertising revenues.

That solution can be easily implemented by the technology folks at the Journal, increasing revenue for Dow Jones, yet maintain that fat subscription revenue.


You read it here first.


UPDATE: October 19, 2007  10:04am


Murdoch says will probably scrap subscriptions




WSJ Joins the Blogging Crowd

Murdoch's Choice: Paid or Free for
WSJ, September 19, 2007; Page B1

MSM Blogging Review: NYT Starts Blogging too

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 | 06:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack (3) add to | digg digg this! | technorati add to technorati | email email this post



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» BizLinks | 10.3.07 from Loren Steffy
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» Newspapers - online vs. print ads from the Dynamist
Long term trend watch: Barry Ritholz at the Big Picture discusses whether the WSJ should make its archives accessable for free. What really caught my eye was this chart... Yowza. It looks like the crossover point (online exceeds print ads) [Read More]

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» to Become Free from The Big Picture
The Associate Press reported last night that once the Dow Jones deal closes at year's end, Murdoch plans on giving away access to -- for free. Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of the News Corporation, said today that he intended to make access to T... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 14, 2007 6:59:52 AM


I have a different thought. When I go to the Tribunes (Chicago) webpage, I get the freshest content free but after I think 7 days and moves to the archives, it becomes fee based if I want to see the complete story.

Posted by: Prince of Thrift | Oct 3, 2007 7:05:28 AM

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