FT navigates new media to a new paradigm

22Sep09

“Our philosophy and strategy is to be channel neutral, and it should be up to the reader.” – Financial Times CEO John Ridding, discussing how converging technology has affected his business.

As stated in Chapter 2 of Media Work, “convergence directly affects four key aspects of mass media industries: the content of communication, the relationships between media producers and consumers, the structure of firms, and ultimately how communication professionals do their work” (Deuze, 70). Many traditional media organizations appear to have perceived this inevitable transition as a threat – not only to their individual and collective identities, but also to the nature of the content. None have suffered more than newspapers, whose attempts to deliver content online have resulted in a loss of paper readership, but more importantly, a loss of revenue.

In stark contrast to these trends, the Financial Times has been extremely successful in this converging marketplace. Not only have they been charging for content, their subscriber base has been steadily increasing over the years. According to an article in the Columbia Journalism Review, CEO John Ridding attributes this success to two things: a reputation for high quality content, and an ability to diversify delivery of content to consumers.

“We launched a bit of a new strategy about three years ago which was basically building up content revenue. Developing new publications and products, both in print and online. Developing niches really–specialist areas around our core brand. That’s really helped us offset the decline in advertising.”

In this ongoing effort, the FT is in the process of launching a financial wiki, which will, Ridding thinks, “provide a trusted voice to make sense of it all – but also to have the readers, who are professionals in this area, being involved and providing information to each other. To develop that link with our readers will be really quite useful.”

By embracing the changes in content and relationships between producers and consumers brought about by convergence, the FT has become even more relevant, and has the revenue to prove it.

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One Response to “FT navigates new media to a new paradigm”

  1. 1 Nicky

    Check out President Obama’s concern for the newspaper industry:
    http://www.benton.org/node/28058

    The FT model could be used as a standard for the industry to follow.


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