Rupert Murdoch has already made it quite clear that he believes in paywalls. Today’s launch of WSJ.com’s “professional edition” for $49 a month shows he has concluded that it’s important to have lots of paywalls for readers to choose from. As of last week, WSJ readers’ digital paywall options were widened to include the choice of paying $3.99 a week, or $17.29 a month, for the iPad app on top of the $1.99 weekly charge for access to the online edition.
The new professional service combines WSJ reports along with Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) Factiva and Dow Jones Newswires. Subscribers can search more than 17,000 global business and news sources, “thousands of which are not available on the free web,” the company insists. Apart from creating an additional revenue stream, the service also seems to take aim at recent efforts from Bloomberg and Reuters (NYSE: TRI) to reach consumers beyond their real-time subscription systems. As Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief, Dow Jones & Co. and the WSJ’s managing editor, puts it, “Users will be able to access this service without being tethered to a clunky terminal.”
On top of greater access to the other parts of Dow Jones news sources, the main attraction of the professional service is the ability to personalize the news users are getting. That just might be enough for readers with either deep enough pockets to pay for additional content — or a healthy expenses allowance — to sign up. Release
Staci adds: This is the evolved version of the same service the Journal launched in November for enterprise users. That was limited to 10 seats or more at $49 each with group folders and sharing. It’s now been opened to consumers. A Dow Jones</i< spokesman says the enterprise product has been "well received" but wouldn't provide any numbers.