Murdoch raises free WSJ.com plans once more
LONDON - Rupert Murdoch has again stated his interest in making the Wall Street Journal's website free and has said he can achieve $100m (£49.8m) in cost savings across the Journal's parent company Dow Jones.
Despite saying he has not yet made a decision as to whether he will abolish the $99 annual subscription fee for WSJ.com, Murdoch argued that such a move would be worth making.
Murdoch said: "Will you lose $50m to $100m in revenue? I don't think so. If the site is good, you'll get much more."
In August the Journal revealed its July print advertising revenues had dropped 7.2% year-on-year.
On Monday the Journal's rival the New York Times said it would stop charging people to access most of its web content. If the Journal follows it will make it difficult for the Financial Times to continue with its online subscription model for FT.com.
Murdoch also said he saw more potential for cost savings than earlier anticipated and thought he could cut $100m, rather than $50m, from Dow Jones' annual costs. In 2006 Dow Jones made $1.78bn in revenues and incurred $1.68bn in operating expenses.
He talked about building a closer relationship between the Journal and Dow Jones Newswires: "Between the two, you have 1,600 journalists. That's a lot of journalists. There's a huge resource there to build on."
Murdoch is expected to make use of Dow Jones resources at the Fox Business News channel he is launching on October 15.
Journal reporters cannot appear on the channel because of the Journal's tie-up with rival business news network CNBC, which does not finish until 2011.
The Australian mogul defended his TV plans against criticism that there was no room for a third business news network to join CNBC and CNN.
"CNBC is a financial news network for Wall Street. We're for Main Street...When I started Fox News, everyone considered me to be an idiot, spending $1bn. It's now worth $10bn."
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