WSJ Will Charge for Mobile Access

Rupert Murdoch is putting his money—or more accurately, “your money”—where his mouth is, announcing that his Wall Street Journal will charge $2 a week for access via cell phone.

I reported back in May that Murdoch was “displeased” about his paper giving away its content free on mobiles but that the paper wouldn’t have the technology in place to charge until early fall. PaidContent reports that “He didn’t offer a time frame for the charges, but indicated it would it start in a few months.”

I had criticized the Journal in April for giving the paper away free on cellphones while charging for the print and Web editions, so I applaud this move, which at least preserves the consistency and integrity of the paper’s subscription strategy.

The Journal will charge people who don’t subscribe to WSJ Online or the print paper $2 a week for mobile access. The somewhat-surprising part is that he’ll charge his existing subscribers half that, as well. Murdoch believes the WSJ content is worth something and he plans to juice his rich readers for the convenience of reading it.

More power to him. Well, um, scratch that. No more power to Mr. Murdoch, please. But you know what I mean.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.