OLD Media Moves

The FT and America

February 19, 2010

Felix Salmon of Reuters was at the PaidContent 2010 conference in New York Friday, where FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw spoke, and he was able to ask him some specific questions.

Salmon writes, “And although it’s outside his bailiwick, I also asked him about the U.S. print edition of the FT, which seems to be quite thin these days and to suffer from the fact that so many stories were written for a London deadline, five hours before U.S. reporters need to file. Rob said that the U.S. paper was profitable — although I have no idea what exactly that means, when so many of the ads come from global buys — and more to the point, that the FT needs a U.S. circulation in order to be able to sell those global ad campaigns.

“As for the numbers, Rob said he was now up to 1.9m registered users of FT.com, and 121,000 paying subscribers, a rise of 21% in past 12 months.

“Finally, I asked Rob about Lex, which is the main distinguishing feature of the premium version of FT.com, and which is currently headless as Jo Johnson runs for parliament in Orpington. Rob said that Lex needs to become webbier, which is undoubtedly true: it’s still got a silly allergy to linking, and it’s still very much working around daily deadlines rather than intraday speed. At the same time, however, no one wants to see Lex become just another blog: if there’s any value at all in Lex, it’s because the pieces are deeply reported. So it’s going to be very interesting to see whothe FT hires to replace Jo, and whether they decide to shake up the franchise much.”

Read more here.

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