Robert MacMillan of Reuters reports that The Financial Times has seen an increase in print subscribers and online readers in the past month as the economic crisis speads worldwide.
MacMillan met recently with FT CEO John Ridding.
MacMillan writes, “Hereâ€™s evidence, some of which Ridding gave me when we had breakfast at Michaelâ€™s last week:
- Newsstand sales rose 30 percent in the United States in September, and about 20 percent in Europe and Asia. Thatâ€™s compared to August 2008, i.e., itâ€™s a â€œsequentialâ€? gain rather than year-over-year growth. In the United Kingdom, Ridding said, â€œWe basically couldnâ€™t print enough copies and retailers were running out.â€?
- The number of registered users of FT.com rose to 750,000 now, compared with 30,000 a year ago. Some of this growth of course, came from pulling back the curtain last November. But Ridding said a couple hundred thousand of those showed up in the past few months, as the mortgage and housing crisis in the United States deepened and then metastasized into full-blown world-market-crisis mode. (Hereâ€™s how registration and subscription works at FT.com)
- During one week, Ridding noted, page views hit 25 million, more than double the normal amount. Riddingâ€™s conclusion: â€œWhat [the crisis] is doing for our readership and audience is pretty remarkable. I think it really underlines this idea that at a time of turmoil, people really do need trusted guides, and are prepared to pay.â€? (The Journal, if anyoneâ€™s wondering, logged 21.7 million visitors at its website, up 110 percent from last year. Itâ€™s hard to tell whether the figure is comparable.)”
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