OLD Media Moves

FT's Lex column losing battle with WSJ

June 9, 2008

Conde Nast Portfolio‘s Felix Salmon writes that the Financial Times‘ Lex column is losing a battle with The Wall Street Journal‘s Heard on the Street column and needs to become free on the Internet.

Felix SalmonSalmon writes, “In the UK, where the FT holds much the same position within the financial classes as the WSJ does in the US, everybody (or everybody who matters, anyway) reads it, normally on the train in to work: it’s easily accessible on the back page, and comes in nice bite-sized chunks. But in the US, the FT still has a tiny print circulation of about 150,000 – compared to over 2 million for the WSJ. And in a classic case of shooting itself in the foot, the FT has made Lex almost impossible to read online: according to the version of the ‘product selection page‘ I get here in Germany, a subscription to FT.com costs $109, while if you want to add Lex to that, you have to pay $299. In other words, the marginal cost of subscribing to Lex is greater than the cost of subscribing to the rest of the FT combined.

“Outside the UK, then, Lex isn’t remotely the popular and influential flagship that the higher-ups in London might consider it to be. Rather than sitting easily-accessible on the back page of your daily paper, it’s hidden behind forbidding subscription firewalls, and needs to be actively sought out if you want to read it.

“As a result, the WSJ still has the stronger brand when it comes to such things. It’s called Heard on the Street, but – until now – it hasn’t had the verve and punch of Lex. Its authors consider themselves reporters first and foremost, with the opinion aspect often played down.”

Read more here.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.