The Wall Street Journal will roll out “a sophisticated micro-payment system” for its site starting in the fall, says managing editor, Robert Thomson.
The premium plan, first reported by the Financial Times, will focus on energy, commodities, wealth management and other specialties. The Journal already has the most successful premium news site on the web, so it undoubtedly feels emboldened to charge for even more content.
The Journal, which is developing its payment system on its own, will charge a certain price per article, though there’s no word on what that will be. Thomson says it will be “rightfully high.”
Even if the plan works for the Journal, it’s not a panacea for the ailing newspaper industry. The Journal is the most successful premium paper online because it sells actionable financial news that isn’t readily available elsewhere.
This fits in place with what Rupert Murdoch has been crowing about lately. He’s said the New York Times should have a paywall. He also said that you won’t find News Corp. (NWS) content on the Kindle. Clearly Rupe wants to protect and charge for his content.
This is a change of pace from when he first purchased Dow Jones. At that time, he spoke of setting the paper free on the web. Since then, he’s gotten a better look at the numbers, and watched advertising disappear.