Wall Street Journal Ventures Further Into Paid Content World




wsj-logo1It’s been a little while since we have drug the already weather beaten newspaper industry back into the spotlight with regard to its desperate need to generate new life. In what appears to be one of the success stories of this new era of content delivery, the Wall Street Journal is stepping up its efforts in this arena. Already one of the premier providers of a paid online version of the paper there is now the introduction of the Professional Edition according to a report from Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal, ever on the hunt for new ways to please its readers and new ways to make money (and what, we ask, is wrong with that?), will launch a new, pricier version this November. Called “The Wall Street Journal Professional Edition,” it is designed for business readers who want more than what the daily newspaper and website provide on their own.

Essentially, it is the Journal’s daily offering, with reports from Dow Jones Newswires and a reservoir of news and information from Factiva, the news archive that Dow Jones owns — and a bunch more stuff.

That ‘stuff’ includes a lot of information that would not be of use to someone like me but to it is to a supposedly large group of business types that need more than just the paper but less than having a full service offering from Bloomberg or another provider. Some of the information includes

  • Information from more than 17,000 global sources, some of which are not available to the public.
  • A one-year archive of Factiva’s global business sources and a two-year archive of wsj.com content.
  • More than 30 industry pages, managed by Dow Jones editors
  • Six industry sections managed by Journal editors who select news and information for readers on pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, media and marketing, telecommunications and technology.
  • Personalized homepages and news alerts for when things break.

So what’s the cost? It’s $49 per month (you can get the current regular edition for around $9 per month depending on the deal you can find). Too rich for my blood but I also don’t require the level of information it offers.

This makes sense to me. It is the slicing and dicing of information to fit a particular niche market. Ideally, this is one of the greatest benefits of the Internet. It would be ridiculous to put together a print edition that tried to address this group because the physical limitations wouldn’t make it much different than the regular paper.

When companies try to repackage their regular offerings with an extra bell or whistle here and there then have the gall to call it ‘bigger and better’ that’s when you get screwed. We are now in a time where there needs to be a significant improvement or much deeper offering to merit any cost at all. This approach in the business sector will work because information wins the day. Will it work in the entertainment magazine or local newspaper market? Not likely.

So there will be models moving forward that make sense to pay for. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that an audience like the WSJ’s can afford it either. Are you seeing any other pay for content models that make sense out there? If so let us know. Are there any publications that could do the same as the WSJ? Think about it. We would love to hear your thoughts.