Rupert Murdoch’s international financial daily The Wall Street Journal, published by Dow Jones & Company, is all set to launch its facsimile edition in India next month. The newspaper, to be launched in Mumbai, is likely to be priced at Rs 30 a copy. It will be in the Berliner format, which is slightly taller and marginally wider than the tabloid or compact format. WSJ’s facsimile edition plans to print 2,000 copies to begin with. The paper is expected to be edited by Suman Dubey.
Star India CEO Uday Shankar refused to confirm the name of the editor of the paper but admitted that WSJ’s facsimile edition was in the pipeline. “It’s not such a major deal since it is just a facsimile edition. It does not involve any advertising revenue.” According to the Indian policy on print media, facsimile editions of foreign newspapers cannot publish any local content or local advertising. However, media analysts say that even without the advertising revenue, the paper would be profitable, thanks to a higher cover price. Currently, HT Media Ltd's business daily Mint has a content tie-up with WSJ, which will not be affected, said Shankar.
Commenting on why WSJ is entering India through the facsimile edition route, Uday Shankar said that News Corp would launch an Indian edition of the paper only if the government increased the FDI limit in newspapers from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.
According to Indian law, facsimile editions can be launched by an Indian entity with or without FDI, and also by foreign companies owning the original newspaper, provided they get incorporated and registered in India under the Companies Act.
The Wall Street Journal was the largest circulated newspaper in the US till 2003 when it was overtaken by USA Today. Its main competitor globally is the London-based Financial Times.
The Australian media moghul acquired Dow Jones & Company, the publishers of The Wall Street Journal, in August 2007 in a $ 5.6 billion deal. Dow Jones was owned by the Bancroft family.