Flack: Murdoch smarter than Zell because WSJ is unique asset
Jack Flack, who writes about business and spin for the Conde Nast Portfolio web site, writes Thursday that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who bought The Wall Street Journal last year, is smarter than Sam Zell, who bought the Tribune Co., because of what they each purchased.
Flack wrote, “The Los Angeles Times has been one of the three or four best newspapers in America for at least two decades, and the Chicago Tribune would likely make most Top 12 lists.
“Those are great assets, because only the strongest newspapers with compelling brand names will survive the transition to a digital world. Unfortunately, both papers operate in the world of general news, where the competitive set is virtually unlimited, and thus differentiation is extremely difficult.
“The Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, operates as the clear leader in a unique segmentâ€”business news.
“As a business, business news is far superior to general news. The audience is affluent, growing, and quite willing to pay for something they perceive of value. Business people value the Journal‘s take on a story over the alternative takes, and can either expense the subscription, or easily pay it themselves.
“That’s why Murdoch is already backing off his initial assumption that he would quickly abandon the WSJ.com’s uniquely successful pay model.”
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