I mentioned in an earlier post that I use the WSJ Reader on my Blackberry which allows me to read news updates and my favorite WSJ columnists (Jenkins, Mossberg, Morgenstern, etc.) at no cost. Even better, it pulls in feeds from my favorite blogs (about 15-20) in real time. I'm convinced that I get more news and information from the reader than I do through any other medium (TV, newspaper, magazines, etc.).
Whenever I add another blog I think about how great this thing is...for me. But what's the WSJ getting out of it? Probably a few things:
- Advertising fees (though very minimal, there's very little space for ads)
- Click throughs: once in a while I'll wind up clicking through to their website to "get more information"
- Branding/Loyalty: I've cancelled my newspaper subscription but WSJ remains top-of-mind for me and I continue to consume their product.
- Word of mouth: because I'm reading columns and articles from the WSJ, I'll continue to talk and write about the WSJ
- Upsell opportunity: they show ads for other Dow Jones products
But I think there's something much bigger and potentially brilliant going on here: The Wall street Journal has built a platform for all the news a reader could want that carries virtually zero distribution costs. Or, put another way, the WSJ Reader solves the two fundamental problems with a newspaper's business model: limited space and big costs. The jury is out on how well mobile attention can be monetized but my sense is that the WSJ is doing something pretty smart here...I'm sure I'll be writing more on this in the coming months.