Now that the deal is done - or is about to be - it's time to put down the knives and get real. Rupert Murdoch is not about to ruin the WSJ, as has been feared by our profession's self-appointed know-it-alls (man, have they been pills these past few months). Actually, he's going to help the paper get better - certainly more accommodating to today's multimedia world. The NYT's Richard Siklos, who has followed Murdoch for years, lays out the intriguing prospects - starting with the effort to lure readers from both the NYT and the FT. That includes undercutting advertising and investing heavily in editorial content— particularly in Washington and overseas. It also means spending a lot of upfront money for the long-term cause. You read right, SPENDING MONEY.
At its most ambitious, Mr. Murdoch’s vision for Dow Jones would establish The Journal as the rival to The Times in setting the daily news agenda of the country. The vision has a business corollary: by broadening The Journal’s influence beyond pure business readers, Mr. Murdoch wants to reposition it as not just the world’s leading financial newspaper, but the world’s leading business journalism company for consumers.
Mr. Murdoch’s second and overarching vision is to resurrect the challenged newspaper industry by integrating print and video online and building brands around the world. Part of that involves tapping into Dow Jones’s Web properties — it owns not just The Journal but also the investing weekly Barron’s, the Dow Jones newswire and the consumer-focused Web service MarketWatch.com — to create an online platform for all of the company’s newsgathering operations around the world. Another would be using the company’s Fox and Sky News video outlets as a source of video content on the new sites.
Executives at the News Corporation are keen to explore whether more of that content ought to be offered free online to increase the audience and attract advertising, while keeping subscribers by offering more premium services. A more open WSJ.com would be able to attract more advertising, but also potentially distribute that advertising across the News Corporation’s online footprint.