Earlier in the week, the New York Times put the “Times Select” subscription website out of our collective misery (from Silicon Alley Insider via David Churbuck) . That left WSJ.com as the last successful subscription newspaper site (in the US market). Now this word from Reuters:
LONDON (Reuters) – News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch has said he might make the Wall Street Journal’s Web site free, a shift that could compel Pearson to do the same with the online version of its Financial Times.
Wsj.com is one of the Web’s most successful subscription businesses with a $99 (49 pounds) annual charge and making it free would be aimed at lifting online ads from an anticipated jump in readers.
That’s the death knell folks…I don’t ever want to walk into a meeting again and here anyone suggest that the Point Barrow Gazette or any other newspaper is going to make a go of the subscription model, anymore than they could live off subscription fees alone on the print end. Online subscriptions are for small, high value, provocative, niche sites like Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey. Not big media.