Wall Street Journal to Test New Pricing Scheme

Call it newspaper pay-per-view. 

As print institutions continue to fall by the wayside, the venerable Wall Street Journal is about to launch a system of "micro-payments" for individual stories on its website later this year, the Financial Times reported.

The service will begin in the fall, Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Journal, told the FT.

Called a milestone for the industry, the payment system will make the Journal the first major newspaper to test out a business model many others have been considering.

The Journal, owned by media barron Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is one of the few newspapers which has been able to maintain its readership in an age where circulation numbers for its peers are down some 10-20 percent each cycle. Subscription prices have risen 21 percent since Murdoch took over in 2007, although the Journal's advertising revenue has slipped, according to the Times.

Thomson said the Journal was working on a plan to charge small fees to occasional users who didn't want to shell out more than $100 for a full WSJ.com subscription.

Pricing for individual articles was still indeterminate, but Thomson told the FT it would be “rightfully high.”

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