Murdoch Serious About Tearing Down WSJ.com's Subscription Wall

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Rupert Murdoch

Originally uploaded by duncandavidson

When Rupert Murdoch first went after Dow Jones, he suggested that he might take down the Wall Street Journal‘s online subscription wall. Well, it looks like he is going to actually do it. He told a group of investors today in Australia:

We are studying it and we expect to make that free, and instead of having one million (subscribers), having at least 10 million-15 million in every corner of the earth.

The WSJ.com is one of the few remaining mainstream media sites that charges a subscription. (The New York Times gave up on its premium subscription service, TimesSelect, in September). The WSJ.com is also one of the few such successes, with about one million paid subscribers bringing in $50 million a year. But the prospect of 10 million or more visitors coming to a free site changes the calculus.

For instance, the WSJ.com could probably get a $25 CPM (cost per thousand) for its ads, maybe higher. Assuming it could show a conservative 20 ads a month to 10 million Website readers at a $25 CPM, that right there is $60 million in annual revenues ($25/1,000 visitors X 20 ads/month X 12 months X 10,000,000 visitors = $60,000,000).

Add in the fact that search engines will have an easier time finding individual stories and bloggers will be able to link to them, and those number can go even higher.

(Photo courtesy Duncan Davidson, taken at this year’s Web 2.0 conference).

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