The Wall Street Journal plans to start charging as much as $2 a week to read its stories on BlackBerrys, iPhones and other mobile devices, expanding the newspaper's effort to become less dependent on its print edition.
The mobile fees will be imposed in the next month or two, according to Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of the Journal's owner, News Corp Murdoch mentioned the upcoming fees Tuesday during an investor conference in New York.
More details about the Journal's new fees are expected to be disclosed next week.
The Journal introduced a free "Mobile Reader" application for Blackberrys in August 2008 and began offering it for iPhones about five months ago. The newspaper advised users the mobile application would remain free for limited time.
Unlike most US newspapers, the Journal has long required a subscription to read most of the stories on its website. The strategy has paid off so far, with the Journal boasting more than 1 million online subscribers.
Now Murdoch is trying to generate more revenue through other channels, to help offset a steep drop in advertising during the past few years. He intends to charge for online access to News Corp's other newspapers, which include the New York Post and The Times of London.
Journal readers subscribing to the newspaper's website can currently access it on their phones without an additional charge if they use a mobile browser to navigate to the material.
Subscribers to the Journal's print edition will be charged $1 a week if they want the mobile reading application, Murdoch said on Tuesday. The $2-per-week fee will apply to mobile readers used by people who don't already subscribe to the newspaper.
News Corp may not limit its digital fees just to newspapers. The New York-based company is also considering some fees to watch movies and TV shows on Hulu.com, an internet entertainment service that News Corp co-owns with Walt Disney and NBC Universal.Reuse content