Huffpost Media

Murdoch: WSJ Website To Remain Subscription-Based

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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."

Murdoch has previously expressed an interest in making the Wall Street Journal website completely free in an effort to boost subscriber numbers. Last month, he told Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto,

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.