OLD Media Moves

How the FT gets people to pay for content

April 5, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

John Ridding
John Ridding

Eric Johnson of Recode writes about how Financial Times CEO John Ridding has a strategy that gets people to pay for its content.

Johnson writes, “When the Financial Times began putting its online content behind a paywall, John Ridding recalls that reactions in the tech world ranged from skeptical to ‘pretty hostile.’ After all, the conventional wisdom of the time went, ‘the internet wants to be free.’

“‘Which I always thought was kind of weird and a little ridiculous because, clearly, the internet doesn’t want anything,’ Ridding said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. ‘It’s a channel.’

“Now the CEO of the FT is feeling vindicated: Subscriptions to online reporting from the Nikkei-owned London-based business newspaper start at $350 per year, and readers are buying. Ridding said two-thirds of the FT’s 900,000 subscribers are digital customers, and subscriptions have overtaken advertising as the chief source of the company’s revenue, also representing about two-thirds of the total.

“‘A lot of the industry was too quick to dismiss the ability to charge for content. My view is that if you have something that differentiates you, something that makes you special — it could be a brand identity, it could be a columnist, it could be a sector of coverage — you have the ability to charge.'”

Read more here.

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