The Wall Street Journal was a poster child for premium subscriptions long before Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) bought out the Bancroft family. But the digital landscape has changed dramatically since then. Murdoch, who floated massive trial balloons about free sites when online advertising was hot, instead is using the Dow Jones flagship as a model for other News Corp news outlets — and exhorting fellow publishers to follow suit. Smartphone adoption is moving at a rapid pace, wireless e-readers are taking hold and tablets with rich graphics are starting to catch on — each expanding potential to make money. It’s up to Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones and WSJ publisher, and Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and WSJ managing editor, to get the mix right. That includes testing different pay models at Dow Jones’ region dailies; looking at possible foreign-language app; appealing to ex-pats with the U.S.-based apps; building more premium options like WSJ Pro; and trying to look beyond the attention-grabbing iPad.
This look at the digital present and future is part two of a paidContent interview with Hinton and Thomson at D8, shared in lightly edited excerpts. Part one covered the changes they