Wall Street Journal to start “micropayments” model

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The Wall Street Journal, one of News Corporation’s titular newspapers, is expected to announce a new way for non-subscribers to access individual articles without spending over US$100 to access WSJ.com, according to a report in The Financial Times on Sunday.

The “sophisticated micro-payments service”, according to Robert Thomson, editor in chief of Dow Jones and the managing editor of the WSJ, told the site. This will allow the paper to reduce their dependence on advertising revenue on the web and their paper, along with the subscriptions.

The paper has raised its average print subscription prices up to 21 percent since the takeover by Rupert Murdoch to compensate the falling revenue.

For subscribers online, the site offers content and editorial produced by the Dow Jones newsroom, while content from the Associated Press and other wire sources remain free on the website.

However, the downside is that by offering stories that you have to pay, it makes it easier for someone to find an equivalent story, produced by another source or a news wire source, for free – with technologies like Google News, which has been criticised from profiting on other people’s content.

In a US Senate hearing, the VP of Google Marissa Mayer said in her prepared testimony that together “Google News and Google search provide a valuable free service to online newspapers specifically by sending interested readers to their sites at a rate of more than 1 billion clicks per month.”

“Newspapers use that Web traffic to increase their readership and generate additional revenue.”