There seems to be a slight dis-connect between what Rupert Murdoch has said about the future of the subscription model of WSJ.com and what WSJ.com is currently reporting. Under the subject line, “Murdoch: WSJ.com Won’t Go Free,” Emily Steel blogs from Davos (it’s also a story behind the WSJ.com pay wall) the following quote from Murdoch: “‘We are going to greatly expand and improve the free part of the Wall Street Journal online, but there will still be a strong offering’ for subscribers, Mr. Murdoch said. ‘The really special things will still be a subscription service, and, sorry to tell you, probably more expensive.’”
So, wait. Did he say, “The WSJ.com Won’t Go Free”?
When I’ve blogged on this topic in the past, I have tried to be clear that it was (and is) my belief that the strategy Murdoch is telegraphing today — a blended one — would be the strategy they’d ultimately choose. I stated this precisely last August 4, when I wrote: “I predict we’ll see the doors flinging open on a major portion of the content soon. However, on certain sub-sets of highly-technical, business-critical data on the site, the cost of access will increase. In the end, the new owners will make lots more money.”
In other words, I predicted what Murdoch said today. They will greatly increase the free part of WSJ.com and charge more for business-critical, technical data. I’ll predict this today: the “greatly expanded and improved free part” of WSJ.com will look a lot like a free WSJ.com to most people who just read the news stories.
Related rexblog flashback: “How to get an RSS feed with tons of â€˜freeâ€™ stories on WSJ.com“
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