Gordon Crovitz wrote an opinion piece in Monday’s WSJ on why the news media cannot all be given away for free. He makes a case for charging for online access to differentiated content that is not available elsewhere while giving away for free content that is available through most sources. There are a few numbers he quotes in his article on WSJ’s online readership that are interesting for making a case for unbundling the WSJ. By unbundling I mean, allowing readers access to individual articles, for a small fee, instead of charging for the whole subscription.
According to Crovitz, in 2007 WSJ had 1 million paying subscribers and 20 million monthly readers who read the free articles. This 20 million readers are the potential market for unbundled pricing. When these readers click on a subscriber only article, the website will ask, “This is a subscriber only article but you can read it now for $0.25”. Suppose if 10% would take this offer and read just one such article at a price of $0.25, that is half million in additional profit per month, or $6 million in yearly profit.
Why not unbundle The Wall Street Journal?
See also Profit or Page Views.