Why the FT is betting on branded content
Ken Doctor writes for Politico about the branded content boost underway at the Financial Times.
Doctor writes, “Earlier this month, the FT bought most of Alpha Grid, an award-winning, London-based content marketing company.
“FT CEO John Ridding recently told me the buy was ‘a small acquisition that will really up our skills and game in the area.’
“The acquisition immediately brings in-house a group of eight practitioners of the branded content trade. It’s a trade that the FT, the New York Times and the big magazine companies increasingly see as an escape route from ever-harsher, Google/Facebook dominated landscape of programmatic digital advertising.
“‘The FT’s investment in Alpha Grid rapidly accelerates our branded content capabilities, and via a business that understands how to communicate with our very specific audience,’ says Jon Slade, the FT’s chief commercial director. ‘The demand is growing substantially. So it makes sense to have more staff and less outsource. That also helps clients as we have the intelligence as part of the machine, not outsourcing it.’ The FT says that its ‘Paid Posts’ branded content revenue has grown 30% since its introduction last fall; it’s the FT’s fastest-growing digital ad type. Further, it says it has doubled the number of ad bookings in the category. One of every 10 digital ad pounds, dollars and euros now is driven by branded content. Importantly, rates parallel those of lucrative print advertising.
Read more here.