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January 02, 2008

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Elad

Chris,

You raise valid points, but the problem is that it's practically impossible for an analyst to make even a remotely reliable estimate of their effect on WSJ's bottom line, or how soon that effect is going to really kick in. I guess that Mr. Wang would rather err on the safe side.

Also, regarding your last point, that the WSJ had to open up because rival NY Times did, note that it doesn't mean that WSJ is going to make more money by going open. If anything, it means that they just had to sacrifice income due to increased competition, so the downgrade is warranted.

Terry Heaton

And then there's the not-so-small matter of using CPMs to judge future value...

Draeke Weseman

A fourth category of indirect value can be added: Political Value.

Rupert Murdoch used FOX NEWS in a similar way - by the then under-valued all-news all-the-time cable channel concept. His method has been well documented by the film OUTFOXED, and so I'll direct inquiry there. I would also encourage anyone to compare tactics with CNN and owner Ted Turner.

I personally would be skeptical of anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, i.e. FOX NEWS, MySpace, and now the Wall Street Journal. The reasons for Citizen Murdoch's purchase of the Wall Street Journal (and these other media outlets) goes beyond merely seeking to generate increased revenue.

If Rupert Murdoch started his own online economic newspaper, let's call it Rupert's Online, and began running stories spun to benefit the political elite he associates with, many reader's would notice. Under the tag, the Wall Street Journal, however, this political action is less noticeable because of the Wall Street Journal's reputation as apolitical.

In this instance it appears that the indirect political value is for Murdoch to be able to present his own political view(s) of the world as fact rather than opinion. What Murdoch has purchased is control of the discourse and a disguised outlet for his political views.

Barry Ritholtz

The error in Wang's analysis is that advertisers pay a premium for high end consumers (such as paid WSJ subscribers), and much less for general readers.

By setting the WSJ totally free, Murdoch will give up BOTH the subscription revenue AND the high end advertiser revenue that now graces the paid subscriber WSJ.com.

Sometime ago, I proposed a hybrid model: WSJ: Free or Paid? (Yes). Move the WSJ/Dow Jones archives out from behind the subscription-only firewall. Keep the most recent WSJ subscription only -- perhaps 30 days, but certainly no more than 90 days maximum.

That solves all problems nicely . . .

JB

Bear Stearns is stupid. I'm downgrading them based on this crap analysis. $6 CPM. That fool obviously doesn't know what he is talking about.

Adrian P.

I third the idea that a $6 CPM is ludicrous. As an advertiser, I can say my clients have paid a helluva a lot more than that...
And although opening up the site may mess with the higher end demographic the WSJ currently enjoys, it's still not going to completely dismantle it; I'd be pretty confident of all the outliers canceling each other out.

joshMshep

as a 24 year-old business marketer, i would relish having the Wall Street Journal available online.

even though i consider the New York Times a liberal rag, i invariably end up printing 2-3 or their extensive articles every week just to get the reporting (then sift out the leftist views).

the day all of wsj.com goes free is the day i don't link to or print another nytimes.com story. ever.

Bob Calder

The only thing that will keep me away from wsj.com is their attempt to pass off the dead brain of Charles Murray as somehow relevant.

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Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!