The Financial Times has long charged readers for access to its content, and recently reached 1 million subscribers.
But for CEO John Ridding, the road to 1 million is much harder than it looks.
“It’s highly necessary but very difficult,” said Ridding on this week’s Digiday Podcast. “We were pioneers in this area, and it was lonely out there in the paid-for journalism land. It becomes apparent to other publishers that paid-for journalism is important. It’s very hard for any publisher to have a viable strategy that doesn’t involve some kind of paid-for component. It’s a lot easier understood than done. It takes a long time to build the technology, technique, the expertise and build a relationship with readers to get them into a subscriber relationship.”
Ridding talked about the biggest growth areas for the FT going forward, why the publisher’s relationship with Facebook has been consistently difficult and more. Edited highlights below.
Facebook has a problem.
“[The relationship with Facebook] has been difficult. We’ve been making a case for a long time with Facebook and others that they should do a better job of creating a supportive environment for paid-for journalism. The spread of fake news has damaged the ecosystem. While it’s true that they’re investing significantly into trying to address some of these problems but it’s like whack-a-mole, where you deal with one source of fake news and another pops up. Enabling publishers to have the ability to make their content available on their terms in areas of the platform [will be helpful.]”
There is a big opportunity in B-to-B.
“[FT’s] first acquisition ever was Money Media 10 or more years ago. That fit a pattern that we have a lot of success with, which is to take a specialist area in digital premium content and take it global. There’s a lot of opportunity for FT with the infrastructure and global power to find these specialist areas.”
It shouldn’t be hard to find a differentiating factor.
“We have a successful B-to-B operation but we do have a successful consumer operation. We have several hundred of thousands individual subscribers and several hundreds of thousands that are more B-to-B. As long as you have a differentiating factor, something that a reader values, the subscription model is viable. It could be a particular brand feature, a columnist or a subject. If you don’t, there’s a fundamental problem that goes beyond the inability of a subscription model.”
How Microsoft plans to storm adland: ‘Attribution, CTV, in-game ads and potential M&A’
Microsoft Advertising VP Rob Wilk explains how it plans to burnish its $10bn ad business
Inside Hearst UK’s multi-pronged approach to third-party cookie replacements
Hearst UK's Ryan Buckley and Faye Turner are testing everything from 50,000-person panels to clean rooms.
Out of home fights for greater ad share as it cites better value on action taken by consumers
An OAAA study found that OOH is on par with other media in eliciting action from those consumers who recall seeing the ads. And since it's much less costly, it's a more effective means of influencing consumers.
SponsoredHow marketers and retailers are unlocking the true value of retail media
Ben Kneen, senior director of product management, Xandr It’s a challenging time for retailers in the advertising industry. As they cope with supply chain woes and inflation-related pressures, they seek high-margin revenue streams amid evolving privacy regulations and massive shifts in identity solutions — including IDFA, the deprecation of third-party cookies and more. In light […]
The Rundown: BuzzFeed Inc. revenue up by 26% despite hits to commerce business, expects similar momentum in Q2
Despite significant declines in BuzzFeed Inc.’s commerce business, overall revenue was up, due to increases in the company's advertising and content arms.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: Omnicom Media Group tackles supply-chain challenges for its clients
The media agency network created a metric designed to help brands calculate where and when to redirect media spend as a result of supply chain issues they face — rather than just putting a halt on spend when there’s a supply crunch.