Media Moves

WSJ.com will eventually become free

January 25, 2008

Posted by Chris Roush

Felix Salmon of Conde Nast Portfolio argues Friday that The Wall Street Journal‘s web site will eventually become free despite what News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said on Thursday about keeping some of the content behind the pay wall.

WSJ.comSalmon wrote, “I don’t buy it. The meaty Page One stories are actually one of the few parts of the paper which have had free online links for some years now. And worthy stories about emerging markets are a commodity these days: you can find as many as you like, for free, at bloomberg.com. Besides, no one will visit WSJ.com for fluffy features alone. In any case, I suspect that news stories are not what Murdoch had in mind when he talked about ‘really special things’.

“So what might he have been talking about instead? Well, Factiva, for one thing – that would certainly count as ‘really special’, especially if a light version of it was folded into a WSJ.com subscription. Also, the Dow Jones indices, and some of the Dow Jones Newswires content which doesn’t make it into the newspaper. To start with, I’m sure there will be some news stories behind the subscription firewall as well – but the number of them will surely decrease over time.

“In any event, most people seem to have glossed straight over the ‘greatly expand and improve’ part of what Murdoch said – which certainly implies that anything which is free right now will remain free. (So no worries about Real Time Economics disappearing behind a subscription firewall – something which was considered, at one point.)”

Read more here.

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