This year “could well be” the first year in its history that content revenues, including print and digital, overtake advertising revenues at the Financial Times, its chief executive, John Ridding, told the news organisation’s Digital Media Conference today.
The latest figures show content revenues for the FT accounted for 41 per cent in 2011, while advertising revenues accounted for the majority.
Speaking on a panel debating “the future of digital journalism and news”, Ridding said the FT’s relationship with its readers has helped to “sustain” quality journalism.
Having that understanding about what readers want is very helpful in continuing to improve the quality of journalism we provide.
We are confident in the business model and confident it will not just sustain quality journalism but enable us to further build quality journalism.
The site currently offers free registration which gives users access to eight articles a month, after which they would need to pay a subscription to access further content.
During the panel Ridding also spoke about mobile, which he said has been “a complete game-changer” for the FT.
One of my issues to start with was will the kind of content we do work on mobile? The answer is yes.
He added that one question to consider is whether there are ways publishers can reach out to “large continental economies” via mobile and tablet devices, such as by using “incentives … to stimulate that demand”.
Last month the FT’s parent company Pearson reported in its end-of-year results that FT Group revenues increased by six per cent to £427m in 2011.
Digital subscriptions to the FT were said to be up 29 per cent year-on-year to 267,000 and registered users on FT.com had risen by 33 per cent.
Last week paidContent reported that “in the US, to where its online chief recently relocated, digital subscriptions have now overtaken print subscriptions”.
The interview with Riddings also revealed that content revenues are expected to overtake ad revenue in 2012.