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Media News

Murdoch's Dow opens Web Journal to some free access

LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Dow Jones & Co has begun opening access to previously paid-for online Wall Street Journal content just weeks after the $5.6 billion buyout by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp NWSa.N.

An item in the Wall Street Journal Europe newspaper on Thursday said the company has rolled out a new Web site offering free access to all its editorials and opinion columns. Core news content remains a subscription service.

The move represents one of the first tangible signs of how Murdoch is putting his stamp on the Wall Street Journal.

As part of the free offering, video clips are being offered from News Corp.’s Fox news television channel.

Analysts are keeping a close eye on what Murdoch does with the Journal given his interest in possibly making the entire WSJ online site free to attract more readers and advertisers.

His initiatives have implications for other players in the Web media and information industry, not least Pearson's PSON.L Financial Times, which 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.

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

“It’s as close as we’ll get to conceding there is such a thing as a free lunch,” said the Journal.

The majority of the Journal’s daily editorial offerings have been behind a paid subscription wall at wsj.com/opinion since 2000, though readers were able to access a limited number of stories and features via a sister site, opinionjournal.com.

From Thursday those two sites were merged to become one free online site, here. (Reporting by Gavin Haycock, editing by Will Waterman)

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