If you are associated with the media industry, you are watching this news very closely.
I have spoken with many people on what they thought about the Rupert's potential deal with Microsoft. Everyone either believes it is terrible idea or that, with their backs to the wall, the news media industry needs to do something drastic or be ready to be subjected to constant blood-letting over the next several years.
Here is why I feel that this may not be all bad for WSJ: If you are NOT a WSJ subscriber and search for and find a link to a WSJ article on Google, Bing or any other distributor of news, you are allowed to read that one article but not navigate to any other WSJ content. WSJ gives non-subscribers access to that one article for two reasons:
- To get a chance to try and convert you to a subscriber. I am very sure that the conversion rate is dismal.
- Monetize the click by displaying ads. The CPM rates on these ads must be terrible as the WSJ does not know you and your interests. The search engine provides the search term used by you to get to the story. However, click-through rates for ads determined by search terms must be very poor.
If you are wondering how it applies to the other News Corp properties, here is a Guardian article on how James Harding, editor at The Times, feels about putting their content behind a subscription.