Can the FT’s success be replicated by others?


Jeff John Roberts of wonders whether The Financial Times‘ success in becoming a digital media operation can be copied at other media organizations.

Roberts writes, “If a publisher can come to occupy such a niche, they may enjoy the same virtuous cycle as the FT where margins rise with digital revenue while distribution costs stay nearly fixed.

“But it’s hard to see how the FT case study can apply to anyone other than the FT. Recall that even the New York Times is struggling to ‘cross over;’ its digital revenues are rising but, overall, the paper’s overall operations are shrinking. The Wall Street Journal, with a similar global business niche, may be the only other publisher with a hope of crossing over this year.

“Doctor also cites the FT’s 30-person data and analytics team as integral to the company’s digital transition. He points out that such teams can supply critical intelligence about customer targeting and revenue optimization. But do other publications, which can no longer afford copy editors, have the means to hire dozens of data scientists? Probably not.

“How many other newspaper and magazine brands can you name that even stand a chance of making this crossover?”

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