Rupert Murdoch announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the Wall Street Journal website will remain largely a subscription-based service.
"We are going to greatly expand and improve the free part of the Wall Street Journal online," Murdoch said, "but there will still be a strong offering" that remains behind the paywall. "The really special things will still be a subscription service, and, sorry to tell you, probably more expensive."
At the moment, we sell it to about 1 million people, at a theoretical $50/year. But it costs probably, of that 50 million, 15 [million dollars] is in costs of just getting subscribers, and looking after them. So it's 35 million [dollars]. We think when it goes from 1 million subscribers to 20 million people watching it around the world, there'll be more than enough advertising to make up the difference. It may take a year to get there, but we'll get there.
The New York Observer's John Koblin reported last week that Murdoch had a change of heart regarding that logic, but today's remarks were his first official announcement that the website would not go completely free, after all.