Keeping in line with new owner Rupert Murdoch’s focus on key Asian markets, WSJ.com, the online edition of The Wall Street Journal, launched its India edition this morning at India.wsj.com. India and China are the only two markets now with a dedicated section on the WSJ site. Readers accessing WSJ.com from India are automatically redirected to the India section, where you have an option to choose your edition.
On 9 January, the government’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board had approved an investment of Rs 2.16 crore by Dow Jones & Co. Inc. to set up a wholly owned subsidiary that will bring out a facsimile edition in India, after deferring the decision for months. The company had sought the government’s nod in August 2008. A facsimile edition is the exact replica of a newspaper published abroad and it cannot carry local content or advertisements.
Suman Dubey, who has worked for Dow Jones for long in India and is designated the publisher and editor for the facsimile edition, told us that the fax edition is still in the works and no details can be shared at this point. It is not clear whether the new edition will be a facsimile of the berliner-sized Asia edition or the broadsheet-format U.S. edition of WSJ. It applied for both the titles and has got permission for both.
Financial Times, WSJ’s main global competitor, had launched an India section on FT.com last year and had also joined hands with the Network18 Group to launch an Indian edition. As per Indian laws, a foreign investor can hold only 26% stake in a newspaper publishing company. While the FT’s venture seems to have been delayed due to the ongoing economic slowdown, Dow Jones was never interested in launching an India edition unless it had control over the venture. Uday Shankar, who heads News Corp (NYSE: NWS). subsidiary Star India Pvt Ltd, told Business Standard in November that News Corp. will not launch an Indian edition of the WSJ unless foreign direct investment cap in the business is raised to 49% from 26%. Journal’s publisher Dow Jones was bought by Murdoch’s News Corp. in a $5 billion deal in August 2007.
Mint, the busness daily from HT Media Ltd, prints four pages of WSJ content through an exclusive content sharing agreement.