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Old 03-25-2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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Wall Street Journal to cost $18 on the iPad

crossposted from The Digital Reader

The WSJ is reporting(it was more of a footnote, really):

Quote:
The Journal plans to charge subscribers $17.99 a month for iPad subscriptions, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The WSJ is also offered on the Kindle, but for $15 you’re only getting the minimum; a lot of content doesn’t survive the conversion process. You can also get a paper subscription for $30, and it includes full web content. This brings to mind a couple questions.

Why would someone get an iPad subscription when the paper sub has such greater value? Yes, the iPad is mobile, but you can get most of that content from the web with the iPad’s browser.

Why does the WSJ expect me to pay twice (or even 3 times) for the same content? Wouldn’t it be better to have a free iPad app that works in concert with the paper sub? (Something simple, which only delivers the web content.) If not free, then why isn’t it really cheap? You already got my money. Why should I pay for it again?
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:12 AM   #2
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:44 AM   #3
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The Economist is pricey everywhere.
But a subscription to the *print* edition gets you past the Paywall with Calibre which outputs decent (if sadly ADE-specific) e-versions.
I pass the hardcopy editions around the office, often untouched.

Essentially what these pubs are saying is you're paying for the content; the delivery medium is irrelevant. As long as they're consistent across editions (The Economist is) its a fair position to take.

Of course, others (WSJ, NYT) aren't consistent on what you get for what you pay...
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Why would someone get an iPad subscription when the paper sub has such greater value? Yes, the iPad is mobile, but you can get most of that content from the web with the iPad’s browser.
Maybe they realize that they are selling to the demographic that is willing to pay through the nose for things they could get cheaper elsewhere...
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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hehe NewsFlash. WSJ still charging $18.00 more than I'm willing to pay for it.....

I'm sure there are those out there willing to pay for the subscription. Good on them. Most of the info though gets aggregated to other sites in a matter of hours most of the time. It's for this reason I don't see it being worthwhile to pay for it. All I'd really be paying for is their particular slant to an issue.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:56 PM   #6
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What Jobs did is sell the idea that the newspaper/magazine publishers can finally monetize their content. Some of the publishers bought into it, and now will be making iPad versions of their product.

I am not at all sure it will fly. It's the same concept as Apple TV: Let us sell you something through iTunes, which you can get elsewhere for free - legally. A few may go for it, but most will not.

This is in fact the whole concept behind the iPad: monetize publications, monetize video, monetize audio and monetize apps and games. Much of it stuff you could get elsewhere for free, if you were not locked in a walled garden, and if you had Flash.

My take is, many may try it, but after the initial rush, all these subscriptions will start petering out, advertisers will figure out that Steve can't deliver enough of the paying faithful on a small niche, locked-down, platform, and at the end we'll all go back to the ad-supported pages of today.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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I have had a subscription to the online WSJ for many years. I considered getting a subscription for my Sony Daily Edition, but decided I was better off keeping the Online Edition and just having Calibre fetch the paper in the morning and then send it to my Reader. Two for the price of one.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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Here is my financial analysis of the deal. A print+online subscription costs $2.69/wk or say 11 bucks a month. But the clinker is that if you live in Hawaii or Alaska, there is no print option, so you're back down to $1.99/wk or around eight bucks a month. However, if you travel a lot on business, you don't have many options. This could be a segment of the population that the iPad will cater to. Certainly, until the color tablet computers are released in force, you don't have many mid-to-large screen mobile viewing options. As much as I love the Droid, the screen is not suited to viewing detailed news stories. So, Steve has got us by the short hairs, at least for the near future. Seven additional bucks a month is peanuts, anyway.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:02 PM   #9
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An iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad user does not benefit from having the paper subscription because the iPhone OS SDK developer agreement says that an application may not add features through a method other than the approved Apple App Store. By having a free application that you log into to gain more functionality, you violate that agreement.

Besides, as far as the accounting goes within the WSJ, I'm sure that Video and Multimedia content producers and editors will be paid and hired based on the App sales. While print editors and content producers will benefit from the print version. I would guess that any ad revenue from the website goes to benefit the production and maintenance of the web development team as well. Sure, it's a good idea to cross promote, but you want your employees to have a little competitive drive to make the product the best they can.

Plus, I don't see how the prices and products you've described are anything to be upset about. If you have an iPad or plan to get one, then try the iPad's WSJ subscription out for a month in addition to your paper delivery, then cancel whichever one doesn't mesh with you.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:53 PM   #10
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OK people. It's the $#@!! Wall Street Journal, one of the top financial newspapers in the world.

Why on earth do you imagine any of their subscribers are going to care about $15, $18 or $30 a month? That's a pittance to the overwhelming majority of their subscribers and target audience.

The opportunity costs of calculating the price difference is more expensive for those people than just paying the annual price.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonist View Post
What Jobs did is sell the idea that the newspaper/magazine publishers can finally monetize their content.
Incorrect.

The WSJ has had a paywall for years, and Murdoch (whose company owns the WSJ, MySpace and lots of media outlets) was barking about putting up a paywall months before the iPad was confirmed. The NY Times was also talking about it internally for months prior to the iPad announcement as well. Kindle has had paid magazine and newspaper subscriptions for a few years now. In fact, discussions about the Kindle DX also raised the hopes of periodicals for getting paid for their content as well, and that was last spring/summer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonist
I am not at all sure it will fly.
In case you didn't get the memo, free access for any news other than op-ed is not really working.

Newspapers are getting killed by low web ad rates and declining paper subscriptions. Since they can't squeeze any more money out of advertisers, the only other way to increase revenues is to get it from the readers.

And as per usual, while the costs of distribution are dropping precipitously, the cost to actually report the news -- to send reporters to locations, to do the grunt work of sorting through government or business documents, to take photos with the slightest degree of professionalism -- has not changed, and constitutes a huge chunk of the costs.

Blogs can continue, of course (and provide worthwhile contributions), as it's relatively cheap to sit in your home office and opine all day long. But bloggers aren't willing or able to do much of the grunt work or travel out of their home region to do real reporting.

Either news outlets will start charging for content, or they will go out of business -- or more likely, some of both will happen. The aggregators will slowly have fewer and fewer free outlets, either via paywalls or attrition of their sources. The days of ubiquitous free news content may be numbered.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
OK people. It's the $#@!! Wall Street Journal, one of the top financial newspapers in the world.

Why on earth do you imagine any of their subscribers are going to care about $15, $18 or $30 a month? That's a pittance to the overwhelming majority of their subscribers and target audience.

The opportunity costs of calculating the price difference is more expensive for those people than just paying the annual price.
The Kindle edition has 114 one star reviews (out of 225 reviews total). All the ones I checked complained about the price. I'd say price is pretty important.
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
The Kindle edition has 114 one star reviews (out of 225 reviews total). All the ones I checked complained about the price. I'd say price is pretty important.
The hard part is weighing up whether those figures mean much though. I've noticed that a big percentage of on-line respondents to many things tend to be from people moaning about things. Either the satisfied ones just don't have the motivation to seek out somewhere to tell that to the world, or there are a class of people who don't get much success or attention in life and have embraced the Internet as a means of having their say. Possibly a bit of both.

Whether price matters seems to vary not just from person to person but also from situation to situation. For instance, I have a car that requires the premium grade of petrol and sucks it up with great enthusiasm when you put your foot down. But in the 7 years I've owned it I've never once checked how many miles per gallon it's supposed to do, or how many I actually get. When the tank gets low I fill it up and pay. I bought it for driving pleasure not economy runs.

Yet when I get to the supermarket I'll stand in front of things and mentally work out how much per 100 gms I'll pay between one brand and another. I suddenly become meticulously interested in price and value.

My guess is that it will be much the same with the WSJ. If you're in the market for that sort of publication you might well be more interested in whether it suits your convenience and preferred device than cheese-paring about the price.

The next couple of years will be interesting to watch - to see what actually does happen though.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
... In case you didn't get the memo, free access for any news other than op-ed is not really working.

Newspapers are getting killed by low web ad rates and declining paper subscriptions. Since they can't squeeze any more money out of advertisers, the only other way to increase revenues is to get it from the readers....
Uhm.... You've never heard of Google's First Click Free? I haven't had a subscription to the WSJ for years.

Or you've never heard that the WSJ is one of the most heavily discounted papers? Which means that I can get a year's subscription for home delivery now for $119, which is considerably less than what they plan to ask for the iPad subscription. And that includes the cost of printing and distribution!

This is for the WSJ, which is certainly a niche product (although it seems to be becoming more "popular interest" lately) and a good portion of its subscriptions are from businesses. For the rest of the papers, it will be an even harder battle to go paywall.

Plus, if I get get all these subscriptions through iTunes, what happens when I see the WeePad and decide that I like it better than the iPad? I guess when I leave the walled garden of Steve I have to pay for a regular subscription again....
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Plus, if I get get all these subscriptions through iTunes, what happens when I see the WeePad and decide that I like it better than the iPad? I guess when I leave the walled garden of Steve I have to pay for a regular subscription again....
Quite possibly true. But this won't cause the sky to fall, it's just another decision that you'll weigh up the cost/benefit of.

Not all decisions - even business decisions - are made on the primary basis of cost. There are all manner of other practical and emotional reasons to make a choice. If I had a particular reason to want to get the WSJ on an iPad, because that was the device that it suited me, then I'd pay the sub. Ditto for Kindle or whatever. Some people might, for instance, have a paper subscription for their reception area and another in electronic form, or whatever.

I only need one guitar to play a tune, but I've got twelve - all for slightly different occasions. Essential? No. Valued? Yes. I did have another one - bought solely on price - but I got rid of it, because price doesn't always equate with desirability.

Cheers,

Chris
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