Tuesday, April 7, 2009

WSJ: One of the last "walled garden" content providers

In my post last Friday, I mentioned in passing the ability of the Wall Street Journal to charge a premium for online access. In thinking about it more, I came to realize the WSJ is one of the more successful newspapers out there...even more than I realized!

I love the WSJ and read it each day on the way to work. Recently I was looking at the Kindle 2 by Amazon and was excited to see the WSJ as one of its periodical offerings. But what shocked me was it would cost me $10 per month to download it on a Kindle. That would be on top of my online and print subscriptions I have today. Amazon doesn't break out sales of its Kindle, let alone subscriptions.

I would not be surprised if they had some takers. But wouldn't it be great to have platform-agnostic use of the same content for one bundled price? Why pay 3 times? (Actually, WSJ does have print and online bundles.) Of course, the fact that the WSJ has commanded this premium is a testament to its valuable content!

Furthermore, unlike Apple and the iPod, Amazon is selling the Kindle (a.k.a., the "razor") to make money on books (a.k.a., the "blades"). But Apple is making money on the iPod ("razor") and not music. So unless Amazon thinks subsidizing WSJ subscriptions would drive major book sales, I'm probably out of luck for better pricing.

In the end, content is king! In other words, I guess if you continue to have beautiful flowers in your walled garden, you can charge admission.


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