Just last week, CBS MarketWatch and Dow Jones were battling it out for the Web-surfing audience, with MarketWatch going so far as to run an online ad campaign emphasizing that content was always free on its site, in response to a Wall Street Journal Online ad campaign touting a free week on its normally paid-subscription site.
Now MW has been sold to DJ for half a bill. Big news for those of us in the business of attracting the same kinds of eyeballs, or some subset thereof.
What do you think? Has the world just gotten smaller for those who pride themselves in never having to pay for it?
The angle everyone is discussing is the merger of a paid-content business model (Dow Jones) with a free-content model (MarketWatch). Consenus of the pundits and ratings agency: bad idea. What interests me is the staffing question. The idea is that the two editorial brands are very distinct, with distinct audiences, and there's little overlap among the advertising base. But the MarketWatch staff is going to have to join the employment contract that governs Dow Jones' unionized employees ... Sounds like a situation conducive to block trading, as it were. Just look what is going on at Reuters right now:
Reuters journalists have voted informally in favour of strike action in protest at budget cuts they fear will lead to the loss of up to 250 jobs. Staff in the news agency's 250-strong London base voted by more than five to one in an informal ballot asking if they would be prepared to strike. The result of the poll - which is not the formal mandate for industrial action required by law - was branded a "crystal clear message" to management by the National Union of Journalists. "Managers want to sack journalists with a proven track record of skill and expertise that have served the agency well," said Barry Fitzpatrick, the NUJ national organiser for newspapers and agencies.
Hey, as long as it has the same logo, who cares who writes it? If the midget is wearing a New York Yankees uniform and his name is on the roster, then it's a legal at-bat. Beside, can you imagine Jon Friedman working for the geniuses behind the Opinion Journal? Look for all the pre-Khmer Rouge CBSness to be purged mercilessly, is my dumbass guess.