Media Moves

WSJ’s iPad strategy succeeds

June 2, 2010

Ryan Chittum of Columbia Journalism Review writes Wednesday about the success of The Wall Street Journal‘s iPad application, which now has 10,000 subscribers.

Chittum writes, “The WSJ costs $17.29 a month on the iPad. That’s $173,000 a month in subscription revenue, or about $2.1 million a year. That’s not going to bring back the salad days, but remember there are only 2 million iPads being used in the world. As more people get them or similar gadgets, the potential subscriber base will rise.

“And the app is free right now for subscribers to So a total of 64,000 people use it. It seems likely that the paper will eventually charge subscribers to use the iPad app, too.

“But there are also ads to consider. The Journal itself reported in March that the paper had six advertisers signed up for four-month ad packages costing $400,000 apiece (something I questioned and got confirmed here). That’s at least $2.4 million for the first four months of the app. I’m skeptical that pace can be sustained, but if it is that would put total combined revenue (using the 10,000 subscribers number) at nearly $10 million a year. That’s real money, especially for such a new product.

“It’s surely not all net, but most of it is. It costs some money to develop and maintain the app, but — and this is a critical point — the Journal is keeping all of the revenue itself.”

Read more here.

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