In an effort to combat its declining print readership, the Wall Street Journal is now providing readers with free Wi-Fi access in New York City and San Francisco, as long as one signs up for a new WSJ account. Existing subscribers can hop online with their already-paid accounts, paidContent reported.
According to the report, there will be more than 1,300 hotspots provided in New York City throughout September, including Times Square and in the West Village. In San Francisco, people can access the free Wi-Fi on Nob Hill, Fisherman’s Wharf, and at some other locations.
This is not the first time a non-telecommunications company has provided free Internet access, PCWorld pointed out.
Given that Google and Skype offered free Wi-Fi previously with the requirement of account registration, the new business model is likely to be that costs will be burdened on advertisers instead of consumers, Gigaom noted.
“The marketing data these companies get in return for providing free service make giving away the Wi-Fi service itself a worthwhile expense,” PCWorld commented.