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Summary:

It’s not even a rounding error but one of the numbers Rupert Murdoch seemed to really enjoy tossing out during the News Corp earnings call:…

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch
photo: AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File

It’s not even a rounding error but one of the numbers Rupert Murdoch seemed to really enjoy tossing out during the News Corp earnings call: more than 64,000 active users for the Wall Street Journal iPad app after its first month. “Unlike the Kindle, we keep 100 percent of the revenue from the iPad.” That doesn’t mean each subscriber equals new dollars — or that each “active user” is a subscriber. The app itself is free. Ostensibly full access runs about $18 a month but any current WSJ subscriber with a log in can get full access for now; as is the case with WSJ.com, some content is free for registered users.

The WSJ stat provided Murdoch’s segue into a very limited mention of the long-expected News Corp (NYSE: NWS). digital media consortium: “We’re in final discussions with a number of publishers, device makers and technology companies. We will soon develop an innovative subscription model to deliver digital content to consumers wherever and whenever they want it.” Later during Q&A, Murdoch said the company is planning a press conference on the subject in three-four weeks (hmmm, an announcement at the D conference the first week in June?) and said it would include entertainment as well as news. A question about whether it would be competing with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iTunes stopped him briefly, and drew an admission that it would.

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  1. This title is misleading, comes off like they are making money off of 64,000 people. Funny how Murdoch makes the 100% ipad revenue vs kindle comparison; hopefully he isn’t blind to the 100% of paying kindle customers vs penny percent ipad.

  2. I like Murdoch and the WSJ. Was a subscriber for years. However, it seems funny to me that the owner of a publishing giant could be such a major on the minors. Why would you want to focus your efforts on building something for such a miniscule audience? I’m sitting here looking at this on my MacBook Pro thinking that the huge publishing companies are more excited about making their content look better for a $500 – $800 device than they are for a $3,000 device?

    Rupert, just so you know, you get to keep the money from your WSJ.com web site too. And you can keep A LOT more from it than you will ever be able to keep from an iPad audience. You should have taken the resources that you allocated to the iPad and placed them with your online division making design and other improvements that would increase your overall subscribership, while bolstering your numbers, which in turn would appeal to your online advertisers.

    Think big. Think THE INTERNET – where EVERYONE can see the content.

  3. Free is dead. In a few years “THE INTERNET” will be walled gardens and the free stuff will be like those free little local newspapers by the door in bookstores and restaurants full of legal postings. Childhoods end.

  4. Count me as one of the 64,000 who is going to cancel. I pay more than the online version and get fewer articles. That’s insane. Newspapers and magazines will not survive until they GET IT. Print is over and all content should be available all places for those willing to pay.

  5. Farley Zoober Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    OK, the iPad is selling real well. Nice work Apple! OK the WSJ looks happy as well. OK Good Job Jobs. Well maybe Apple is not all that bad. Try to relax Wall St.

  6. From Swedens point of view, this is so strange. We do have a big “Kingdom of Press” like RupertMurdoch, but we also have different kinds of free press. And what PirateBay learned us, is that information feels good when it´s free.

    Some argue that an artist need to get money for their work, I prefer to say- artist will have money if they have any customer. They need fans, and loyal commissions. The information from RM is seldom so unique or extravagant or specfic or topnotch that no one else can write the same story elsewhere.

    I´m 32, and i cancelled almost all of my subcriptions to “infotainment”. I have a newspaper (my wifes idea) but no satelite TV, I never buy records, I seldom buy magazines. I use Spotify for music, yotube for videos and my godblessed RSS for everything else.

  7. Daniel M. Clark Saturday, May 8, 2010

    64,000 people out of, what, 350 million Americans? But the WSJ isn’t simply an American paper, it’s available all over the world, so… 64,000 people out of a few billion.

    Yeah, it’s a massive success.

    There are online games with more users. Hell, there are probably iPhone/Touch apps written by a teenager in his spare time with more users.

  8. You’re Missing The Point Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    They’re not selling the app, the app is free according to the article, they’re selling the subscription to the content. And according to Apple they sold about 3 million iPads in the first 3 months of release, so 64,000 for a single publication’s app isn’t great penetration, but its not horrible.

    64,000 app users * $18 per month per user in content subscriptions is about $13.8 million dollars a year, unless I got my math wrong. For content the WSJ are already producing. Sure, likely most of those are existing subscribers who just moved over to the iPad, but its still a nice way of tracking adoption across devices.

    And the development costs of the app would be trivial, its just a newsreader. Unlike a game that requires constant updates every year or two to stay interesting and fresh.

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