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WSJ’s Subscription Business Can Go

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 22nd 2007

Business Week has a good analysis of the prospective demise of WSJ’s subscription business under Murdoch’s regime.

“For The Wall Street Journal Online, going free will come at a high cost. The daily financial newspaper is one of the few major publications to successfully charge for access to most of its online content, earning roughly $79 a year from each of its nearly 1 million Web subscribers. Once incentives and other free offers are taken into account, some analysts estimate that the paper will bring in more than $65 million this year from WSJ Online subscriptions alone.” Read more …

Okay, so let’s say, News Corp is ready to write off this $65 million in revenues, with the expectation of amply off-setting it with online advertising revenues. Is that the only way to recover the $65 million in lost revenues?

The answer is no. My quick back-of-the-envelope analysis of a possible vertical business blog network with ad revenue sharing in partnership with 50 strong small publishers would get them up to $70 million in “insanely profitable revenues”, amply making up for the subscription loss.

Whichever way you look at it, News Corp (NWS) will most certainly be better off leveraging the brand power of The Journal to attract as many eyeballs as possible, and an international mix at that.

The future of international business news and analysis thus remains intimately intertwined with the destiny of the WSJ, and will be determined by Rupert Murdoch, who would ensure that the esteemed media jewel not only expands vastly in reach, but is also a powerful and thriving business endeavor, whose viability would never again be questioned.

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