Financial Times Drives Digital Growth
The Financial Times today announces that it is opening up access to FT.com, its award-winning website, by allowing free access to 30 stories per month, including news, analysis, comment, columnists, and other premium content.
The new access model, which will launch in mid-October, will be followed by a series of enhancements at FT.com that will be launched over the next few months. These include a new markets section, new editorial features, columns and tools, a further expansion of the FT's video journalism, and upgrades to the design and performance of the site.
The new model will enable blogs, news aggregators and other websites to access FT.com content and link to it more freely. It replaces the current restrictions on access to business stories and premium content.
Users will be given free access to up to 30 stories a month, a level that takes account of current usage patterns and reader research, with a light-touch registration required after the first five articles. Apart from full access to the FT's journalism, registrants and subscribers can benefit from personalised services, such as e-mail alerts and portfolio tools.
After 30 articles, readers who want unlimited access have an option of standard or premium subscription which costs £99 (€119 / $109) or £199 (€319 / $299) annually. Premium subscribers will have exclusive access to Lex content, which now has additional online articles and more functionality, and a new FT Mobile News Reader application which provides optimised mobile phone access to FT content.
John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times, said: "The FT has posted consistently strong revenue growth over recent years and continues to achieve healthy growth in audiences in print and online. We see significant potential in the expansion of FT.com, which provides an efficient means of reaching and interacting with our global audience. This new model is innovative and flexible – and will broaden our reach. We believe many FT.com users, drawn by these changes and the quality of our journalism, will become regular and dedicated FT users and join the ranks of our existing subscribers."
Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, said: "There is increasing demand for quality, independent global business news and analysis – as demonstrated by increases in readership we have been seeing. FT.com represents an increasingly powerful expression of FT journalism, and will be further strengthened by the enhancements we will be launching over the coming weeks."
Ien Cheng, publisher and managing editor of FT.com, said: "Our new access model means FT.com is open for business in a new way. Before, only subscribers had access to our award-winning business news, analysis and columnists. Now, everyone interested in understanding the world of global business can read, enjoy and benefit from our best content for free online. Other publishers have been caught in a stark choice between free versus paid. We are now offering a third way, in which you only pay if you want more than 30 articles per month."
Enhancements to FT.com include a new markets section with more data, better integration with the FT's markets reporting and analysis, and an easier-to-use design; an expansion of its high-profile View from the Top CEO video interviews to include European and Asian CEOs; new blogs by Clive Crook, the FT's chief US commentator and John Gapper, the FT's chief business commentator; and technical enhancements to make the site faster to access. (Full details of these enhancements can be found in 'notes to editors' below.)
FT.com is one of the world's leading and fastest-growing business websites. In the last 12 months, FT.com monthly unique users have grown by more than 70 per cent to 6.5 million. Page views have risen by 50 per cent to 43 whilst on-line revenues have risen by 40%.