Raju Narisetti says free samples can lead to paid subscribers

Dogmatists in the great debate about free versus paid digital content should check out a brief interview with Raju Narisetti by London-based Media Briefing.

Narisetti left his job as a managing editor at The Washington Post, one of the leading holdouts against a paywall, to return to The Wall Street Journal.

Having operated in both environments, Narisetti likes some of each. His concept is that Dow Jones' free websites, MarketWatch and smartmoney.com, work as freestanding businesses and support the parent site.

Similarly, he notes, “It’s difficult for people who are not exposed to your content to suddenly become a subscriber.” That helps explain The Wall Street Journal site’s periodic free get-acquainted days or weeks, as well as the relative ease of circumventing the paywall to read an individual article.

Narisetti added he could see developing new paid WSJ products if there ever is a “premium Twitter channel” or a similar YouTube service.

He similarly straddles the issue of newsroom integration:

Content creation ought to be a single multiplatform group. But content management ought to be specialized. I get very irritated when people say they are platform-agnostic, because each platform is a very different opportunity to create a different experience. So the specialists are at the content management and dissemination end – making content available online, for iPads, for mobile.

Related: Alan Mutter outlines the three management strategies for newspaper companies:

  • Farm it (Warren Buffett)
  • Milk it (Advance's Newhouse family)
  • Feed it (Rupert Murdoch)


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