One of the first things to go down once News Corp.
Yes, The Wall Street Journal takes its website seriously. Most of the site is walled off to its 983,000 paying subscribers, unless they pony up for the Web-based service, too.
So why would Rupert Murdoch even entertain the notion of going all AOL on us? Increased traffic would clearly grow the online-advertising and paid-search opportunities, but it would come at the expense of surrendering the more predictable flow of paid subscriptions.
Yet it's something that the Journal itself is pondering publicly today. This morning's paper weighs some of the comments that Murdoch made yesterday at a Goldman Sachs conference. Suggesting that tearing down the subscriber wall "looks like the way we are going," he's doing more than just floating a trial balloon.
He has already worked out the math.
"I think you'd get not 1 million paying customers, but, around the world, you'd get 10 to 15 million regular daily hits on it, and that would be the most affluent, the most influential people in the world," he said, in arguing that giving up $50 million in annual subscription revenue could be made up elsewhere.
Bringing down the walls is about more than just getting a lot of hits, though. News Corp. is making a big bet with next month's launch of the Fox Business Network. If Murdoch wants to take on General Electric's
Online subscriptions have always been tricky. New York Times
Then again, stock research is something that investors typically don't have a problem paying for when capital gains are at stake. Whether it's Morningstar
However, sites like Fool.com, Morningstar, and The Street also offer most of their non-newsletter editorial content for free. If Murdoch has his way, WSJ.com will follow suit sooner rather than later.
New York Times is a former recommendation of the Fool's Income Investor newsletter service. If you're not sure whether stock research is worth paying for, go for a free 30-day trial subscription and decide for yourself.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a print subscriber to more than one Dow Jones publication, even if he consumes most of his financial news online. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.