OLD Media Moves

Lessons learned from charging for online content

March 29, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Rob Grimshaw, managing director for FT.com, writes on Wired.com about how the business newspaper decided to begin charging for its content online.

Grimshaw writes, “The lesson from the FT’s experience is that the market is more flexible than it looks. As a niche publisher, the FT decided early that we couldn’t compete on scale. The response was to challenge the terms of the game, first by implementing a high yield “quality not quantity” ad sales model and second, by taking on the widely held assumption that readers would never pay for content online.

“When the FT launched a metered access model for digital subscriptions in 2007, many were headed in the opposite direction and critics called our determination to swim against the tide and focus on content revenues shortsighted.

“The decision was driven in part by necessity and in part by a belief that popular opinion must have got it wrong. For senior execs, it seemed unlikely that readers no longer valued the FT’s journalism simply because it had moved online. The content produced by a renowned editorial team simply had to be worth something to the right audience.”

Read more here.

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