iPad Version of Wall Street Journal Priced at $17.99 A Month - Too Expensive, or Right on Target?

wall street journal photo

Photo via Infrogmation via Flickr CC

Magazines and newspapers have been in their death throes for years now, and it seems like the iPad is not only the final stake in their heart, but also the very thing giving them the launch they need to rise from the dead in a new digital body. However, the pricing of the new format of favorite magazines and newspapers could leave some readers gawking. If things are going digital, shouldn't they cost pennies on the dollar for what they're priced at in hard copy form? Isn't that the very incentive for readers to switch to the (potentially) greener option of reading their news on an e-reader instead of paper? Maybe...but maybe not. Gizmodo writes, "WSJ has reported on itself by saying that "according to a person familiar with the matter," their monthly iPad subscription will cost $17.99 a month. Now, I'm no Yank, nor plan on buying an iPad, but that seems high, no? Regardless, it's at least ten bucks cheaper than a monthly subscription to the dead trees version, so WSJ readers will see it as a bargain I'm sure. Too bad they're a dying breed."

It may very well be cheaper than the paper version, but for people sporting iPads, there's (obviously) a perception that digital versions of magazines, newspapers and books should be far, far cheaper than the hardcopy versions. We've become used to paying a dollar here, two dollars there for music and apps, and figure that since the digital version takes far less energy and practically no materials to create and distribute, that we should pay that much less. However, we have to remember that people need to get paid for their work, whether it comes in digital or hardcopy form.

Not all magazines will be so expensive. According to WSJ, "Esquire, whose iPad plans are furthest ahead in the Hearst magazine stable, is leaning toward a downloadable issue without advertisements for now, priced at $2.99, or $2 less than the physical magazine's cover price."

Now that just seems like a steal!

And it's not like iPads and other e-readers won't be money makers in some way for magazines and newspapers - the very media for which a significant portion of the iPad design was devised. According to the WSJ article, "Six advertisers, including Coca-Cola and FedEx, have agreed to advertise with the Journal, and a four-month ad package costs $400,000, according to these people. Coke and FedEx declined to comment on terms."

That's some serious advertising money. As it is the main revenue stream in hard copy, so too will advertising be a major portion of the revenue for digital versions of the papers and magazines.

The WSJ article also addresses advertising on the iPad--apparently Time magazine will debut its iPad version with adverts from Unilever, Toyota, Fidelity Investments and three other companies, with each ad said to be setting them back $200,000 for the full first eight issues. Meanwhile, Wired magazine will offer a little extra something for advertisers who buy eight pages of ads for each issue--with video and "extra features" promised. Esquire magazine won't have any adverts in its debut issue, and will cost $2 less than the dead trees version."

More on e-readers
e-Reader Chart Compares iPad, Kindle, Nook and More, Makes Shopping A Little Easier
Hearst Corp Coming Out with Magazine eReader
Apple's Tablet to Take Over Textbooks, Magazines, Newspapers
The Eco-Dilemma: To Book, or Not to Book?

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