Financial Times drives digital growth

Launch of New Access Model Opens up FT.com

LONDON, October 1 2007: The Financial Times today announces that it is opening up access to FT.com, its award-winning website, by allowing free access to 30 stories per month, including news, analysis, comment, columnists, and other premium content.

The new access model, which will launch in mid-October, will be followed by a series of enhancements at FT.com that will be launched over the next few months. These include a new markets section, new editorial features, columns and tools, a further expansion of the FT's video journalism, and upgrades to the design and performance of the site.

The new model will enable blogs, news aggregators and other websites to access FT.com content and link to it more freely. It replaces the current restrictions on access to business stories and premium content.

Users will be given free access to up to 30 stories a month, a level that takes account of current usage patterns and reader research, with a light-touch registration required after the first five articles. Apart from full access to the FT's journalism, registrants and subscribers can benefit from personalised services, such as e-mail alerts and portfolio tools.

After 30 articles, readers who want unlimited access have an option of standard or premium subscription which costs £99 (€119 / $109) or £199 (€319 / $299) annually. Premium subscribers will have exclusive access to Lex content, which now has additional online articles and more functionality, and a new FT Mobile News Reader application which provides optimised mobile phone access to FT content. 

John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times, said: "The FT has posted consistently strong revenue growth over recent years and continues to achieve healthy growth in audiences in print and online. We see significant potential in the expansion of FT.com, which provides an efficient means of reaching and interacting with our global audience. This new model is innovative and flexible - and will broaden our reach. We believe many FT.com users, drawn by these changes and the quality of our journalism, will become regular and dedicated FT users and join the ranks of our existing subscribers."

Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times, said: "There is increasing demand for quality, independent global business news and analysis - as demonstrated by increases in readership we have been seeing. FT.com represents an increasingly powerful expression of FT journalism, and will be further strengthened by the enhancements we will be launching over the coming weeks."

Ien Cheng, publisher and managing editor of FT.com, said: "Our new access model means FT.com is open for business in a new way. Before, only subscribers had access to our award-winning business news, analysis and columnists. Now, everyone interested in understanding the world of global business can read, enjoy and benefit from our best content for free online. Other publishers have been caught in a stark choice between free versus paid. We are now offering a third way, in which you only pay if you want more than 30 articles per month."

Enhancements to FT.com include a new markets section with more data, better integration with the FT's markets reporting and analysis, and an easier-to-use design; an expansion of its high-profile View from the Top CEO video interviews to include European and Asian CEOs; new blogs by Clive Crook, the FT's chief US commentator and John Gapper, the FT's chief business commentator; and technical enhancements to make the site faster to access. (Full details of these enhancements can be found in 'notes to editors' below.)

FT.com is one of the world's leading and fastest-growing business websites. In the last 12 months, FT.com monthly unique users have grown by more than 70 per cent to 6.5 million. Page views have risen by 50 per cent to 43m whilst on-line revenues have risen by 40%.

For further information please contact:

Emma Gilpin-Jacobs
Director of Communications
Financial Times
T: +44 (0) 20 7873 4447
M: +44 (0) 7802 955 243
E: emma.gilpin-jacobs@ft.com

Jo Crosby
Communications Manager
Financial Times
T: +44 (0) 20 7873 3811
M: +44 (0) 78131 85975
E: jo.crosby@ft.com

Notes to Editors:

About FT.com

  • FT.com currently has 101, 000 subscribers
  • Unique users and page views to FT.com are up more than 70% and 50% respectively so far this year. The latest three month average to the end of August shows unique users at 6.5m and page views at 43m.
  • In April, FT Alphaville won an Eppy - the annual awards by Editor and Publisher magazine - as best business blog and FT Mobile News Reader won the 'Most innovative Use of Technology' award at the 2007 Newspaper Awards

Subscription charges

The Standard subscription will cost (prices per annum):

UK: £99

Europe: €119

USA: $109

The Premium subscription will cost (prices per annum):

UK: £199

Europe: €319

USA: $299

Future improvements to be rolled out for FT.com from October

  • A brand new markets data section, already one of the most popular areas of the site, with clearer and easier-to-use design, improved functionality, more data and research information, and better integration of markets data with the FT's value-added reporting. It will include:

    • Interactive symbol/company lookup, where users can search for stocks by either symbol or company name, with suggestions for stocks appearing interactively as users type
    • Improved look-and-feel and functionality on equity quotes pages, user portfolio pages, stock index pages, and currency pages
    • Better integration of data and value-added FT journalism, including interactive charting that allows users to correlate stock price movements with company news reported by the FT, results announcements, stock splits, and other company events; plus market data appearing on mouse-over of company names within FT articles throughout the FT.com site
    • New data and information, including interactive Bonds, Rates, and Commodities pages; Country research pages; Extended profiles and financials for 40,000 global companies; data from more global stock markets; and "Macromaps" showing global equity and currency performance on a map
    • New and improved tools, including email alerts based on price and volume movements and revamped personal portfolio tools
  • The FT.com site will also benefit from new technical performance improvements, enabling more consistent downloading speeds, contributing to a smoother and faster reader experience
  • The homepage and story pages will be enhanced to enable easier scanning and reading of editorial content and we have taken advantage of a wider page width to allow editorial content, including video and other forms of FT journalism, to be promoted and presented in a more coherent way.
  • We plan to continue to grow our video journalism, which has gone from zero to more than 60 video stories a month within the last 12 months, and which has been well received by both users and advertisers. We have hired a new head of video journalism and will build on the success of the View from the Top and Daily View video formats.
  • Starting the first week of October, we will be rolling out further editorial features including:
    • New blogs by Clive Crook, the FT's chief Washington commentator; John Gapper, the FT's chief business commentator; and Tim Harford, author of the best-selling Undercover Economist
    • A second weekly instalment of View from the Top, expanding the video interview column from mainly US-based CEOs to European and Asian CEOs. The initial lineup of the additional weekly slot includes interviews with the CEOs of Roche, Qantas, Australia's Macquarie Bank, and InterContinental Hotels.
    • An expansion of the highly successful online-only Economists' Forum featuring a by-invitation discussion about the FT's weekly columns by Martin Wolf and Larry Summers by a panel of top global economists, including Nobel Prize winners.
    • We will also shortly be announcing some well-known names as new writers and columnists at the FT and FT.com.
    • These October improvements will be the latest in a series of site improvements we have successfully launched in the last 12 months, including:
    • A new search platform and interface, supporting faster and more accurate search results which users can interactively filter and refine
    • The FT Alphaville markets blog, edited by highly regarded financial journalist Paul Murphy, which was awarded Best Media Affiliated Business Blog of the Year at the EPpy awards 
    • The View from the Top weekly video, an exclusive on-camera interview with top CEOs, including Eric Schmidt of Google, Anne Mulcahy of Xerox, Sir Howard Stringer of Sony, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Rick Wagoner of GM, Jeff Immelt of GEO and many others.
    • The Daily View video reports, providing on-the-day coverage and analysis of top business stories from specialist FT reporters in London and New York.
    • The Short View daily video report by John Authers, a video version of his popular daily markets column.
    • A new blog platform and new blogs, including a foreign affairs blog by Gideon Rachman, the FT's foreign affairs columnist; the Technology blog about the global technology business; the Westminster blog on UK politics; the Brussels blog about EU politics; and the UK Business Blog
    • Blog page views have more than doubled in the last 12 months
    • Faster site speed. Access speed to FT.com is now two to three times faster in all regions around the globe.
    • This year, we also launched the FT Mobile News Reader, an application for Blackberrys and other smart phones which allow optimized and highly convenient mobile access to FT news and content. This application has already received industry awards and been recognized by our premium users as a powerful tool for keeping up with the news on the run or while commuting.

About the Financial Times:

The Financial Times Group, one of the world's leading business information companies, aims to provide a broad range of business information and services to the growing audience of internationally minded business people. The FT Group includes:

  1. The Financial Times, one of the world's leading business newspapers, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy.  Providing extensive news, comment and analysis, the newspaper is printed at 24 print sites across the globe, has a daily circulation of 426, 850 (ABC figures, August 2007) and a readership of more than 1.3 million people worldwide.
  2. The FT Group's pan-European network of national business newspapers and online services including France's leading business newspaper and website, Les Echos and lesechos.fr.  In February 2000, the FT launched a new German language newspaper, FT Deutschland, with a fully integrated online business news and data service.
  3. Through FT Interactive Data, the FT Group is one of the world's leading sources of securities pricing and specialist financial information to global institutional, professional and individual investors.  Its products include eSignal, an online realtime streaming quotation service for brokers and active traders.
  4. FT Business, which produces specialist information on the retail, personal and institutional finance industries. It publishes the UK's premier personal finance magazine, Investors Chronicle, and The Banker, Money Management and Financial Adviser for professional advisers.
  5. The Mergermarket Group, whose products and services provide the global advisory and corporate communities with intelligence and analysis. With regional head offices in London, New York and Hong Kong and 200 journalists in 46 locations worldwide, reliable and validated proprietary intelligence and historical data is provided via the mergermarket, dealReporter, Debtwire and wealthmonitor on-line platforms. 
  6. The Mergermarket Group, whose products and services provide the global advisory and corporate communities with intelligence and analysis. With regional head offices in London, New York and Hong Kong and 200 journalists in 46 locations worldwide, reliable and validated proprietary intelligence and historical data is provided via the mergermarket, dealReporter, Debtwire and wealthmonitor on-line platforms. 
  7. The Financial Times Group also has a stake in a number of joint ventures, including;
    • FTSE International, a joint venture with the London Stock Exchange.
    • Vedomosti, Russia's leading business newspaper and a partnership venture with Dow Jones and Independent Media
    • A 50% stake in BDFM, publishers of South Africa's leading financial newspapers and websites.
    • A 50% stake in The Economist Group, which publishes the world's leading weekly business and current affairs journal.
    • A 13.85% stake in Business Standard, one of India's leading financial newspapers.

The FT Group is part of Pearson, the international education and information company.