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Wall Street Journal content to be free?

Ashley Milne-Tyte Jan 10, 2008


Scott Jagow: On the Internet, it’s still hard to get people to pay for content. There’s so much out there that’s free. The Wall Street Journal has been one of the few exceptions. It makes millions by charging people to read the paper online.

But starting today, you won’t have to pay for the editorial pages or fir videos. This is part of the Rupert Murdoch makeover. But why is he tinkering with a money-maker? Here’s Ashley Milne-Tyte.

Ashley Milne-Tyte: It may not be long before all Journal content becomes free.

Media consultant Peter Kreisky says the Journal’s paid subscription model may be a financial success, but the need to pay for access means the paper has far fewer readers than some of its competitors.

Kreisky says Rupert Murdoch wants to change that, starting with opinions:

Peter Kreisky: I think that at this particular moment in time, it’s very important to the new owners that their opinions be as accessible as their rivals the New York Times and others.

There’s been speculation the Journal could never pull in enough ad dollars to make a free site work financially.

But Kreisky says the Journal is a stellar business brand that can command high fees from advertisers:

Kreisky: The Wall Street Journal can certainly charge a higher rate than Yahoo Finance can charge, and so I think that the goal is totally reachable.

If the rest of the paper goes free, he says, the paid subscription business model will be dead.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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