Murdoch wants to make the site free to anyone
Ellison wrote, “But Mr. Zannino and other executives have said that given the nature of the Journal’s content, opening up the Web site to nonsubscribers might not attract enough new readers to make up for lost subscription revenue. Furthermore, according to an internal Dow Jones review of WSJ.com, nonsubscribers only stay on the site for an article or two, unlike subscribers, who stay on the site much longer.
“The lofty ad rates the Journal can charge online would be eroded by a less loyal, nonsubcriber base. Lehman Brothers estimates that the average page view on WSJ.com commands four times the ad revenue of a page view the New York Times site.
“Looking to cash in on growth in online advertising, the Journal already offers some content free, including stories from its business-of-life sections. The paper is doing a test with Google News in which online readers coming to its site from Google News can read a single article for free but are blocked from entering other parts of the site. The goal, according to a Wall Street Journal spokeswoman, is to capitalize on both the traffic that comes from search engines as well as to encourage people to subscribe to the Journal.”
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