By all accounts, it was a red-letter day for the Wall Street Journal.
First, Reuters reported that the newspaper's digital division would be launching a specialty product, providing premium subscribers more specialised news in niche areas than the regular paper already delivers. Then, Editor & Publisher listed the newspaper's online edition as having drawn the second most unique visitors in September among all U.S. newspapers.
The number of uniques seemed especially notable given the Wall Street Journal's Web site has a partial paywall, as well as its recent announcement it will be implementing paywalls on its mobile site, even for subscribers. However, a closer look at wsj.com's fee structure revealed that mobile phone users who sign up before Saturday may yet preview the Journal for free through January. This window of unpaid opportunity likely accounts for the spike in first-time visitors to the site.
Sadly, these facts undermine owner Rupert Murdoch's touting the success of his subscription-only news service at Friday's investor conference of News Corp., the Journal's parent company, reported Sunday by Australia's Herald Sun.
As for the Wall Street Journal's Professional Edition, the concept seems to have been well-received by business and media geeks alike, who plastered the web within minutes of its announcement, as shown by the index compiled at rgator.com. The Professional Edition is expected to cost US$49 per month, or roughly $600 per year. Unless, that is, another unpaid window of opportunity arises.