Friday, January 25, 2008

Murdoch says TANSTAAFL

Apparently my wait for a free online Wall Street Journal is going to be a long one. Rupert Murdoch has talked to the people who actually run his new playtoy, and then convinced him not to kill their paid online subscription model. As Robert Heinlein summed it up: TANSTAAFL.

The WSJ reported on Murdoch’s comments at the Davos schmoozefest:

"We are going to greatly expand and improve the free part of The Wall Street Journal online, but there will still be a strong offering" for subscribers, Murdoch said. "The really special things will still be a subscription service, and, sorry to tell you, probably more expensive."

I find no small irony that this article (about how WSJ content will be paid) is available free.

When the NYT gave up on charging for content on September 17, many predicted the WSJ would follow suit — including some of my MBA students who looked at it. In the end, the WSJ article makes it clear exactly what I asked originally — if you have the revenues ($60 million) will you walk away from them? The NYT was far less successful (less than 20% of that) and has more free visitors.

Instead, the WSJ will play tricks to try to use Google to get visitors to the free site, and then upsell them. Sort of a freemium thing.

No comments: