Jasper Jackson of TheMediaBriefing.com interviewed Financial Times CEO John Ridding about its business model becoming more digital.
Jackson writes, “The FT has a compelling digital success story to tell, but is it of any relevance to the wider industry, most of which isn’t focused on serving a high-value business audience hungry for financial news?
“Ridding concedes that the Financial Times’ business focus gives it an advantage over other more generalist titles, but says that doesn’t mean its model isn’t going to work for more mainstream newspapers.
‘The majority of publishers in the US now have some sort of paid model. There’s different formulas and flavours of doing it, but the fundamental principle that you can charge, that it’s valid to charge, for content online is now accepted.’
‘It comes down to that very simple proposition that if you are producing something valuable that people are willing to pay for then you can charge for it. It could just be a brand attachment, a sort of loyalty, but that’s pretty valuable stuff.’
“Ridding says the FT’s metered access model, which built on the charging system introduced in 2001, to allows access to a number of articles for free before asking people to subscribe, won’t emerge as the only way newspapers can make money in a digital environment. However, he is skeptical about attempts to rely on entirely open, mostly ad-funded models such as the Guardian’s, or the stricter all-or-nothing approach to charging adopted by News UK at the Sun and The Times.”
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