Wall Street Journal ‘Pro’ Coming Next Month

Latest in Rupert Murdoch’s grand plan to charge for all content online.

Last Updated: November 23, 2009 @ 1:08 PM

The debate over paid content continues to heat up, and here’s the latest flare.

While the New York Times is busy slashing headcount in the newsroom – and sifting through readers’ comments demanding it start charging for its website, the Wall Street Journal is squeezing blood from a stone in another way: it’s launching a “professional edition” of its Web site.

On Wednesday, Dow Jones & Co. announced that it will give readers who pay $49 a month deeper access to its data and newswire services. WSJ said it is targeting “businesses and individuals who need more specialized information about energy or corporate bonds, for example, than is available from WSJ.com, but aren’t the large companies targeted for costlier services by Dow Jones Newswires or Bloomberg L.P.”

At the moment, subscription access to WSJ.com is $149 a year.

Wall Street Journal Professional Edition has been in development for “over a year,” the company said.

It’s the latest push in Rupert Murdoch’s grand plan to charge for all online content across the company.

During a conference call with investors in August, Murdoch said that the success of WSJ.com has proven to him that he can charge for content online, and thinks the pay model can be transferred across all of News Corp.’s Web properties.

In September, Murdoch said the company plans to charge users who access the Wall Street Journal on their mobile devices, too.

Unlike the Times’ blog post about newsroom layoffs, which generated hundreds of comments, with many readers suggesting various business models for the paper to pursue, the WSJ story about its premium content service has had very few comments – three in fact.

This one, however, suggests there could be a backlash: “Will the existing service that I’m paying for be rebranded as the WSJ Amateur Edition?”