Tag Archives: Financial Times

FT resisting giving over subscriber relationship to Apple

by

The Financial Times wants to keep selling subscriptions for its digital news directly to readers rather than surrender control of new customers who sign up via Apple’s iPad, according to a Reuters story on Monday.

Georgina Prodham writes, “Apple’s hit tablet computer, the iPad, has become a major driver of new subscriptions to FT.com, thanks to its large and crisp display, possibilities for interactive features and affluent customer base.

“But the FT values direct relations with its customers which allow it to tailor advertising and products to its audience, and is resisting Apple’s efforts to channel them through the App Store.

“‘We don’t want to lose our direct relationship with our subscribers. It’s at the core of our business model,’ Rob Grimshaw told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

“He said he was hopeful of a positive outcome to negotiations with Apple, but added: ‘If it turns out that one or another channel doesn’t mix with the way we want to do business, there’s a large number of other channels available to us.’”

Read more here.

The FT's online and mobile success

by

Ian Burrell of The Independent in London writes Monday about how the success of the Financial Times in charging for online access is now being copied by other media.

Burrell writes, “Latest figures from the FT show it has 210,000 digital subscribers all paying a minimum of £250 for a year’s access to the title’s website and apps. ‘For a publication that circulates roughly 400,000 in print, that’s a big number, and we haven’t done that at knock-down prices, we have aggressively increased our prices for digital subscriptions over the past couple of years,’ Rob Grimshaw, the managing director of FT.com, says. When Grimshaw took up his post in 2007, an FT subscription cost just £99. Digital revenues grew by 56 per cent in 2010, helped by the growth of smartphones and tablets.

“That trend has just begun. ‘The mobile transformation could easily be larger in scale than the shift from print to desktop and it could happen at frightening pace,’ Grimshaw says. A recent survey of 2,500 FT registered users found that 45 per cent were accessing content via mobile devices. ‘The numbers were much bigger than any of us expected,’ he says. ‘You can only come to the conclusion that mobile will probably become the dominant channel.’

“Having previously focused on Apple products, the FT has shifted attention to Google’s Android. ‘Android has gone from zero to 30 per cent-plus penetration of the smartphone market in a couple of years,’ Grimshaw says. Within weeks the FT will make available its Honeycomb app for Android in time for the launch of a string of new tablet formats this year, starting with the Motorola Xoom this month.”

Read more here.

The FT’s online and mobile success

by

Ian Burrell of The Independent in London writes Monday about how the success of the Financial Times in charging for online access is now being copied by other media.

Burrell writes, “Latest figures from the FT show it has 210,000 digital subscribers all paying a minimum of £250 for a year’s access to the title’s website and apps. ‘For a publication that circulates roughly 400,000 in print, that’s a big number, and we haven’t done that at knock-down prices, we have aggressively increased our prices for digital subscriptions over the past couple of years,’ Rob Grimshaw, the managing director of FT.com, says. When Grimshaw took up his post in 2007, an FT subscription cost just £99. Digital revenues grew by 56 per cent in 2010, helped by the growth of smartphones and tablets.

“That trend has just begun. ‘The mobile transformation could easily be larger in scale than the shift from print to desktop and it could happen at frightening pace,’ Grimshaw says. A recent survey of 2,500 FT registered users found that 45 per cent were accessing content via mobile devices. ‘The numbers were much bigger than any of us expected,’ he says. ‘You can only come to the conclusion that mobile will probably become the dominant channel.’

“Having previously focused on Apple products, the FT has shifted attention to Google’s Android. ‘Android has gone from zero to 30 per cent-plus penetration of the smartphone market in a couple of years,’ Grimshaw says. Within weeks the FT will make available its Honeycomb app for Android in time for the launch of a string of new tablet formats this year, starting with the Motorola Xoom this month.”

Read more here.

FT.com site to turn pink

by

Lara O’Reilly of New Media Age writes that The Financial Times website will undergo a redesign aimed at boosting subscriptions and to make it look more like the printed paper.

O’Reilly writes, “The revamped FT.com site will show articles on a pink background – currently only the landing page is pink – and will also feature bigger graphics and videos, as well as ‘more intelligent’ linking on articles to steer readers to related content.

“In addition, the website’s search function will include blog and video content for the first time.

“FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw said, ‘This is a major change to the look and feel of the site, which will make it much more readable and encourage more people to come and take a look.’

“The revamp is estimated to go live by the end of June this year.”

Read more here.

FT exec backs NYT's online pay model

by

The New York Times unveiled Thursday its plans to begin charging readers to access some of its content online, following models that have been successfully used by business newspapers The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, has executed the FT’s strategy to successfully charge for its online content, an effort that began in 2000.

In response to the Times’ plans being unveiled on Thursday, Grimshaw issued the following statement:

The Financial Times believes in the value of quality content and our experience from the last three years is that a metered model is an excellent paid model, allowing access to new and casual users while building a healthy digital subscription business that doesn’t sacrifice traffic or advertising.

The FT pioneered the metered model in 2007 and we’ve seen both digital content and digital advertising revenues rise every year since. Last year, we experienced record growth in online subscribers, double-digital growth in online advertising, and overall digital revenues grew by 47%.

Without a doubt, new digital distribution channels have been a game changer for the publishing industry and for a long time many people feared change and what it might mean for their businesses, but we have always seen it as an opportunity. The value of premium content has only increased with the proliferation of sources online. Amid an ever-growing chorus of voices, we’ve found our readers seek out and, importantly, pay for that responsible and authoritative journalism that they can trust.

FT exec backs NYT’s online pay model

by

The New York Times unveiled Thursday its plans to begin charging readers to access some of its content online, following models that have been successfully used by business newspapers The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Rob Grimshaw, managing director of FT.com, has executed the FT’s strategy to successfully charge for its online content, an effort that began in 2000.

In response to the Times’ plans being unveiled on Thursday, Grimshaw issued the following statement:

The Financial Times believes in the value of quality content and our experience from the last three years is that a metered model is an excellent paid model, allowing access to new and casual users while building a healthy digital subscription business that doesn’t sacrifice traffic or advertising.

The FT pioneered the metered model in 2007 and we’ve seen both digital content and digital advertising revenues rise every year since. Last year, we experienced record growth in online subscribers, double-digital growth in online advertising, and overall digital revenues grew by 47%.

Without a doubt, new digital distribution channels have been a game changer for the publishing industry and for a long time many people feared change and what it might mean for their businesses, but we have always seen it as an opportunity. The value of premium content has only increased with the proliferation of sources online. Amid an ever-growing chorus of voices, we’ve found our readers seek out and, importantly, pay for that responsible and authoritative journalism that they can trust.

FT Alphaville to launch U.S. version of popular “Markets Live”

by

FT Alphaville will launch Friday the first U.S. edition of its popular British real-time service, “Markets Live.”

“Markets Live” is a real-time service in which our commentators offer their views on moves and news in the markets in a live streaming-media format

The U.S. version will be different from the daily chat hosted by Neil Hume and Bryce Elder in London.

It will take place every Friday at 10 a.m. EST and will be hosted by FT Alphaville’s New York correspondents, Cardiff Garcia and John McDermott.

As with the British edition, Garcia and McDermott will look at share price moves and other financial asset news, dip into analyst commentary, and engage in the usual banter with the Rabble on the Right.

They’ll also include a recap of each week’s economic indicators and survey the week’s big economic events from around the world. The conversation will frequently feature FT colleagues in Europe, along with business journalists from FT Tilt for emerging markets analysis.

Read more here.

FT to launch U.S. ad campaign

by

Maisie McCabe of MediaWeek reports that the Financial Times is planning a television ad campaign in the United States during the second quarter that will aim to increase its digital subscriptions.

McCabe writes, “Pearson cited its desire to build subscription and other revenue streams in its results to protect the FT from the cyclical nature of the ad market. Hughes said he can see a ‘time when online is a big as print’ in circulation terms.

“However, he said, despite the need to diversify revenues, advertising and their agencies are ‘still hugely important’ to the FT but the way newspapers must sell opportunities has changed dramatically.

“Hughes said: ‘When I started selling newspaper ads all you used to do was go to see the agencies and ask them how much space. Now we have to sell across all platforms – print, online, magazines, mobile and conferences.

“‘Some major brands advertise across platform because they want to reach a c-suite audience at different times in their working day. We’re not a simple newspaper ads sales business any more. We’ve got to make brands stand out from their competitors.’”

Read more here.

The problems with the FT’s strategy

by

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon argues that The Financial Times‘ strategy of charging for Web access while practically giving away its print paper isn’t working — the paper continues to lose print subscribers and its unique visitors online aren’t growing as fast as others.

Salmon writes, “The FT’s paywall is structured very aggressively — you have to register after reading just one article per month, and then unless you subscribe you’re cut off after 10 articles per month. That’s good at maximizing short-term cashflow, but it clearly hurts growth: the FT doesn’t release numbers for unique visitors, but both Quantcast and Compete show FT uniques falling significantly over the past year, and actually being overtaken by Business Insider. What I said back in 2007 was that the FT was removing itself from the conversation; that’s exactly what seems to have happened.

“I don’t doubt for a minute that the FT’s CPMs are very high. But they’re getting there the wrong way, by minimizing the Ms (the number of pageviews) rather than maximizing the Cs (total ad revenues). Eventually, the FT is going to be such a niche product, compared to other business and finance publications, that global B2B advertisers simply won’t see the point in buying it any more. What it should be doing is becoming so big and important outside the UK that major advertisers feel the need to buy it even if they have no desire at all to reach the UK audience. But it’s nowhere near that point yet, and it doesn’t seem to be getting there, either.

“And if the FT isn’t serving advertisers well, it’s not doing so well for readers, either. Paywalls should always be completely invisible to subscribers, but the FT’s fails miserably on that front: subscribers keep on running into that wall on a regular basis, especially when they try to visit ft.com from their mobile device, or when they try to follow a link sent to them by a non-subscriber.”

Read more here.

FT using data to drive revenue

by

Eric Pfanner of the New York Times writes about how the Financial Times is using data about what its readers view on its website to increase its revenue.

Pfanner writes, “When a reader signs up for an online subscription, The FT can track every click. That makes it easier to tailor content and new services to their interests. When customers let their subscriptions lapse, The FT can pursue them via e-mail and other means in an effort to get them to reconsider.

“In businesses where getting to know one’s customers has long been essential, this might not seem revolutionary. But Mr. Ridding said improvements in collecting and mining customer data were a big reason digital sales accounted for 24 percent of The FT’s revenue last year, a big jump from 19 percent a year earlier and a considerably higher percentage than many other publishers can claim.

“The FT, one of the few papers to charge readers successfully on the Internet, said it had 207,000 subscribers to its Web site and other digital versions of its newspaper, up 50 percent from a year earlier. It has also sold more than 1,000 corporate subscriptions to its digital content, and revenue from this source rose 30 percent last year, Mr. Ridding said.

“While The FT is making a big push to generate more revenue from readers, better information on its customers has also helped with advertising, which rose at double-digit rates last year after a weak 2009, he said. Advertisers, no longer content with a scattershot approach, want to know more and more about their audiences: where they live, where they travel, what they read, what they buy and more.”

Read more here.