The Wall Street Journal decided to try an interesting experiment with its iPad app. It is charging about $4 per week for access. That's a lot. To view the publication on Apple's newest gadget, you must pay more than you would to read the WSJ by any other means -- you pay $1.50 per week for iPhone/other mobile device, $2 for online access, $2.29 for print, and $2.69 for print plus online. Yet in the first two weeks of sales, the WSJ has 3,200 new subscribers for its iPad app. Is its strategy working?
The WSJ's pricing breakdown above might seem a little bit crazy. It expects iPad subscribers to pay more than anyone else. Why would they? The Wall Street Journal may realize that iPad owners aren't just any segment of the population -- they're a specific group of people who enjoy consuming information and can afford to buy a luxurious technology to do so. Those are the precise characteristics of consumers who might be willing to pay more for the WSJ's app.
In the first two weeks, the Journal's got 3,200 bites. That might not sound like a lot, especially given that 500,000 iPads reportedly sold in the first week. But according to one estimate, that would likely put it in the top-3 most paid-for apps.