FT revenue generated by digital content grew by 15 per cent last year, and now represents almost 60 per cent of its total earnings, according to the financial services publisher’s latest earnings posting published earlier today (30 March).
The FT used its latest financial statement to highlight the balance of its revenue stream, with the title eager to highlight how robust sales of premium content were throughout 2015, with the publisher also eager to trumpet the success of its premium access model introduced almost 12 months ago.
Digital subscriptions to the FT now number 566,000 (up 12 per cent year-on-year) with the number now accounting for almost three quarters of the title’s total paid-for readership. The title’s total daily readership (i.e. both print and digital combined) now numbers 2.1 million (up eight per cent year-on-year), and it now boasts over 5,000 corporate licences, according to the results.
Since March last year the FT began to phase out its metered access model, where readers could access three articles per month without paying a premium, instead ushering audiences towards a free month long trial for a ‘nominal fee’, before urging them to take a more premium package.
This period also saw the FT purchased by Japanese media conglomerate Nikkei for $1.3bn, appoint its first global consumer marketing director in ex-Amnet chief Sacha Bunatyan, as well as introduce a cost per hour (CPH) pricing model for advertisers, plus double down on efforts on the content marketing front.
All this led to a “resilient” performance of the FT’s advertising unit, according to the report, and although it did not disclose specific numbers it did note that mobile advertising revenues enjoyed ‘double digit growth’ over the measured period.
In a statement discussing the publisher's performance over the last 12 months, as well as its plans to monetise digital content, John Ridding, FT, CEO, said: "Our new digital channels and innovations, and the sustained excellence of
our journalism, continue to drive record paid-for circulation. This performance
provides robust foundations for our global partnership with Nikkei, which is off
to a strong start."
Speaking recently at the annual ISBA conference, Dominic Good, the FT’s global advertising, sales and strategy director, shared details of its plans to improve the performance of its website (for issues such as page load times, etc.) in a project called ‘Next FT’.
Although the Next FT project is not an initiative to specifically curb the growing instance of ad blocking, Good did explain that a benefit of having a faster page load time is that audiences are less likely to install such software if the websites they read are not so negatively affected by tracking pixels, etc.