Is Rupert Murdoch Charging $2/Week or $104/Year for WSJ Mobile?

Last Updated Sep 17, 2009 10:37 AM EDT

As you may know by now, Rupert Murdoch made good on his promise (or threat) to charge for News Corp. content this week by telling attendees at a Goldman Sachs conference that the company would start charging $2/week for the mobile version of The Wall Street Journal (with a cheaper price point for current subscribers to either print or online, and no cost at all for those who subscribe to both.)

But is the price $2/week or $104/year?

Yes, mathematicians, that's a trick question. Two dollars times 52 weeks is $104. So why do I ask? Because Murdoch expressed the price of the sub for non-subscribers to the WSJ's other products at $2/week -- but when was the last time you heard a subscription stated by its weekly rate? Is Murdoch planning on charging via micropayment? Or is he carefully positioning the pricing, given that charging is somewhat controversial ... you know, like they do in those ads for "Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance" from the Colonial Penn program, which state you can pay for the insurance with the extra change in your pocket! Two dollars a week, certainly sounds cheaper than $104/year. Even though you'd think that those who subscribe to the WSJ know a thing or two about math, if there are lots of subscribers it certainly wouldn't be the first time very smart people succumbed to a bit of pricing psychology.

(Kudos to Ad Age's Nat Ives for actually doing the math. I'm sure he was up all night doing the calculations;)

Previous coverage of an online subscription model at BNET Media: