Feeds

Wall Street Journal wants your micro-payments

Pay-per-view news

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Wall Street Journal online, one of the few remaining news websites that's charging for access, plans to introduce a micro-payments scheme this autumn.

Non-subscribers will be charged to view individual articles, according to a report Sunday — somewhat amusingly by the WSJ's overseas rival, The Financial Times and not the paper itself.

Robert Thomson, WSJ's managing editor, told the Financial Times a "sophisticated micro-payments service" will be instated to bill occasional users unwilling to pay the site's $100+ per year subscription rate. Pricing hasn't been decided, but Thomson told the FT ominously that the sum would be "rightfully high."

The paper also discussed selling "premium subscriptions" to niche business audiences that will bundle together different News Corp. services like access to Dow Jones newswire stories.

WSJ's new pondering of alternative payment models comes as the newspaper industry struggles to stay afloat amidst rapidly deflating subscriber numbers and advertising revenues. Micro-payments could certainly relieve the latter, but the wrong price risks the former. Charge too little, and those already ponying up a yearly fee would switch to the micropayment bargain, generating less revenue for the publication. Charge too much, and it's not going to attract any new audiences when news is easy and free elsewhere.

Still, the online publication is a rare instance of a subscription model working in the first place. Even the venerable New York Times had to abandon its TimesSelect online subscription regime in 2007 after predicting advertising revenue would generate more cash than subscription fees. But now that advertisers are pulling back, it's a scramble to see what business model can fly in today's economy. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.