With 270,000 digital subscribers and close to one-third of our revenues coming from digital, the FT’s impossible plan for paid content online is now a success.
FT.com’s MD Rob Grimshaw writes in Wired that, from the FT’s experience, the market for digital news is more flexible than most imagine. Initially the FT’s plan to hide its best stuff behind a paywall was considered by many to be publishing suicide, but with a an ever-expanding digital (paying) subscriber base the FT is proving its critics wrong. The key, for the FT at least, has been to focus on a “quality, not quantity” ad sales model, says Grimshaw. Of course, being in a niche market literally gagging for the most up-to-date financial news and insight also helps.
Similarly Reuters and Bloomberg are also in the pound seats, earning the bulk of their revenues not from paying readers but big publishers and businesses that rely on timeous and specialised financial news.