Murdoch says won't make all of online WSJ free

DAVOS, Switzerland Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:07pm EST

1 of 3. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch addresses a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse

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DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said on Thursday he would not make all online Wall Street Journal content free.

Dow Jones & Co has begun opening access to some previously paid-for items just weeks after the $5.6 billion buyout by News Corp. But Murdoch told a panel at the World Economic Forum annual meeting that there would still be limits.

"We're sort of dividing it up. Those things that you can get more or less as a commodity on different sites about finance, that will certainly be free at the Wall Street Journal," he said.

"The really specialized (material) giving the greatest insights, that will still be a subscription service."

The new Web strategy marks one of the first tangible signs of how Murdoch is putting his imprint on the Wall Street Journal following the takeover, which triggered concerns in some quarters about the future of the newspaper.

As part of the online Journal's increased free offering, video clips are now being offered from News Corp's Fox news television channel.

WSJ.com is one of the Web's most successful subscription businesses, with a $99 annual charge.

Industry analysts are keeping a close eye on developments at the respected newspaper, given the implications for the wider media sector, where pressure has mounted for publishers to give away content on the Internet.

Murdoch's moves are likely to be watched particularly closely by executives at Pearson Plc's Financial Times, which also runs a subscription-based news Web site. Late last year, Pearson adopted a new online business model giving readers partial free access to its FT content.

For full coverage, blogs and TV from Davos see: here

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