Tips from the Wall Street Journal on charging for news

This is from all the way back on April 8th, but the Nieman Lab has a video of Alan Murray, the executive editor of the Wall Street Journal discussing the mindset that the journal adopts in terms of charging users for content. He outlines 5 fundamental aspects to their business strategy that are quite good. Perhaps the best point made is that:

2. You can’t charge for exclusives that will just be repeated elsewhere. This was my favorite lesson from Murray, who explained, “If it’s a big news story, if we report a takeover and — we could hold that behind the pay wall, but if we do, BusinessWeek or someone else will simply write a story saying ‘The Wall Street Journal is reporting x,’ and they’ll get all the traffic. Why would we do that?” So they drop the pay wall, “and take the traffic ourselves, thank you very much,” Murray said.

I think out of all the discussion concerning the creation of a business model for online news this point is one of the most important. The reality is that information is no longer a rare commodity and very few people will be willing to pay for general news stories.

There’s also a series of other short videos with Murray on Nieman’s Vimeo account. Below Murray discusses how the Journal has changed since its takeover by Murdoch.