Pay Wall Benefits Analyst


Needham analyst Mark May, a longtime follower of, is out with a new bullish report on the financial news service, following its recent analyst day. Among the points he likes: a coming redesign, the nearing launch of and the company’s recent acquisitions ( and BankingMyWay). Additionally, he thinks investors should like the latest comments from Rupert Murdoch, that will retain some sort of pay wall around premium content. The logic behind that should be pretty easy to understand, though one site isn’t necessarily a substitute for the other.

Fred Wilson, an early investor in, recently discussed the pay wall on his blog: “The other day I wanted to find Jim Cramer’s column about the threat of a deflationary spiral. I wanted to blog about it and link to it. Then I found out that Jim’s column was at Real Money, Jim’s subscription blog. I ditched that plan and went with another story to make my point. Jim’s story was useless to me. I signed off on Real Money when I was the Chairman of (NSDQ: TSCM). I regret the mistakes we made at with a paid content strategy and I learned from it. Never again… Rupert will learn that lesson too. Apparently the hard way.”

Also commenting on the topic, executive editor John Byrne told Mark Glaser, in an interview that occurred before the latest comments, that a free would put the major financial portals, like Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Finance in “checkmate”. Perhaps, but as Dan Gillmor then points out, a free couldn’t be a substitute for a portal unless it actually offers more than just WSJ content.

Staci adds: Of course, this is all before anyone knows for sure what will be open and what will be behind the wall. It well could be that the kind of material Fred wanted would be readily available when published, as is the case with Walt Mossberg’s Personal Technology column or the newly open opinion pages.

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