The Journal hopes the initiative, dubbed "Open House," will result in both increased subscriptions and advertising, Todd Larsen, president of Dow Jones & Company's consumer electronic publishing division, said Wednesday morning. Last year, the company gained 10,000 new paid subscribers after making WSJ.com available for free for one week, Larsen said. The company's internal numbers show it has 764,000 paid subscribers.
The company has already lined up four sponsors for the first day of the Open House, Randy Kilgore, Dow Jones Online's senior vice president for advertising, said. The advertisers on board include Sprint, which will run a business-to-business campaign; Charles Schwab; and Chase Bank.
Although Online Journal has been seeing some growth in subscriptions--9 percent over the third quarter of last year--most Web users appear reluctant to pay for online news. According to a study by Consumer Reports WebWatch (see today's OnlineMediaDaily story, "Web Users Increasingly Wary"), 86 percent of adult online users would not consider paying to get better access or more coverage online.