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What the FT has done for Nikkei, and vice versa

November 7, 2019

Posted by Chris Roush

Ken Doctor of Nieman Lab writes about Nikkei’s acquisition of the Financial Times four years after the deal.

Doctor writes, “Most noteworthy here is the explosive growth of (expensive) digital subscriptions. The FT, given its global opportunity, has managed significant overall growth, with digital subscriptions now far outpacing its print numbers at their peak. (It sold 504,000 copies a day back in 2001.) Nikkei has largely offset its print losses, doubling its digital subscriber rolls in four years. Both companies have retained their sizable and experienced teams of journalists, considering them the lifeblood of their businesses.

“Notably, the FT has begun to find the profitability bonus that should await publishers that become more fully digital. (After all, the marginal cost of 1,000 new print subscribers is real, in terms of paper, printing, and distribution. The marginal cost of 1,000 new digital subscribers is negligible.) In 2018, the FT made a profit of £25 million, up only £500,000 on 2017 — but double what it made in 2016.

“In both of the interviews we’ll publish this week, there’s a strong emphasis on technology as a business driver and as a force multiplier. The FT is plainly farther along in most of these areas, but as Nikkei’s Kita told me, as a point of pride, ‘Probably in the field of AI, we are ahead of them [the FT]. We are doing research and developing AI in Tokyo. So, this is something that we will be able to share with FT.'”

Read more here.

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