Newspapers struggling to find an online model that pays the bills might find a little light at the end of the tunnel, if they look towards The Financial Times (The FT).
Since moving to a ‘digital first’ strategy a few years ago, the British daily, known for business insight and economic news, has grown the number of journalists it employs to more than 650, making the editorial staff the largest since the newspaper was founded in 1888.
According the Press Gazette, The FT’s head of operations Mary Beth Christie recently said, “We are now digital-first and we believe our content is valuable. We had a hard paywall similar to The Times. Now we have a meter model which provides us with far better data on our subscribers.”
The meter subscription model differs substantially from that of a paywall. It allows free access to all online content, but limits the number of pages or stories that a user can access without paying.
The FT has an average daily readership of 2.2 million people worldwide. FT.com has 4.5 million registered users and more than 285,000 digital subscribers, as well as 600,000 paying users.
The key to the FT’s digital success is its excellent, credible content developed by experienced and respected journalists and designed to meet the specific needs of the outlet’s international investor and business audience.
Christie was quoted as saying too many journalists and editors had still considered stories in a print context, laying out pages in their heads. She said this had to change and pointed to Fast FT, the news organization’s 24-hour breaking news service. She said, “”We treat our readers with respect, they are not just data points.”
The lessons for content marketers, and struggling news organizations in particular, are clear. Invest in producing quality content that will be valued by your audience, treat your readers with respect and provide value for money. Simple!
This article was originally published at ThornleyFallis.ca