Financial Times Frees Some Of Its Content, Sort Of

from the set-it-free dept

Earlier this summer, we suggested that the Financial Times could beat the Wall Street Journal to the punch by differentiating itself by freeing up its content. Now that the WSJ is expected to remove its paywall, Financial Times has announced that it would remove the paywall for its online content by allowing casual readers free access up to 30 articles for free each month. First time visitors to FT are rewarded with freely available content. After five articles, registration is required, and then after 30, access is cut off. So, according to Pavlov, the Financial Times wants to discourage heavy users of its content by making it more difficult to use the more that they use it -- not exactly a good business move.

So, sure, the FT has a loyal subscriber base today, but the current paywall model does not encourage growth. By offering all of their content for free, they can grow their reader base into avid readers, a percent of which can then be converted to subscribers. By no means should they give up on subscriber revenue; they just need to give subscribers a good reason to pay. FT already offers access to tomorrow's paper as a benefit to subscribing -- this is a good example of a premium good. Give subscribers more of these types of benefits: from custom reports to events and conferences, and they will continue to be loyal paying customers. As we've said time and time again, "free" is a vital part of an online media business model and not something to be feared, but rather, it should be embraced.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Don, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 3:14am

    Incredibly stupid

    Delete the cookie and you are always a first time visitor.

    My browser of choice will handle this as an automatic task, per site, if I tell it to. Possibly many browsers can do this, but a manual deletion of the cookie is easy in all browsers that I am aware of.

    So all they will notice is a real jump in first time visitors, that seem never to come back again...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Random, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 3:15am

    Reading this just

    Reading this just makes me wonder who comes up with business models like this. Do they seriously think this will work well?

    Most businesses in this area just seem scared to completely give up content for free without restriction.

    Personally, if something only lets me get part of what I want without subscription, I go elsewhere for the full thing with no hassle

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  

    Financial Times Frees Some Of Its Content

    Okay, so finally Financial times is pulling their head out of sand and freeing up its content online.

    This is a no-brainer.

    Most people including me get their news from online and most of the news sources are free.

    So why would anyone pay Financial Times or WSJ for news it can get free. It is good they have finally woke up to the reality

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 5:28am

    A Business model based on increasing

    irritation.
    The more you visit, the more often you get an in-your-face fist-in-the-velvet request to join, sign-up, opt-in.

    I smell BugMeNot.com intervention; oh and of course the cookie delete option works too.

    I suggest a two-tiered approach.
    Finance is different from general news in that people will pay for content that could help them avoid loosing money (and help make them money, but we are creatures that are more pain adverse than pleasure attract).

    I still believe there is someone out there who will build a sustainable business on paid subscription services.

    If you need a past model that was successful, look at cable television. HBO and their ilk grew rich on paid subscription of fixed no-choice service.

    To make HBO subscription service money, you must have the cable TV playground. Only then can you charge for admission to the more desirable areas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Danny, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 5:30am

    I'm a little a confused...


    So, sure, the FT has a loyal subscriber base today, but the current paywall model does not encourage growth. By offering all of their content for free, they can grow their reader base into avid readers, a percent of which can then be converted to subscribers. By no means should they give up on subscriber revenue; they just need to give subscribers a good reason to pay.


    Okay I've read this a part a few times and I'm still lost. You encourage the FT to offer all of its content for free in order to boost subscription revenue. But if its all free then what are they subscribing to?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 8:30am

    Yeah, that's fine - I'll go elsewhere, lol

    No hate towards them, I understand what they want to accomplish, but usually finding an alternate source is as easy as clicking 'back' and hitting the next search finding.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    nipseyrussell, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 8:57am

    Re: I'm a little a confused...

    "But if its all free then what are they subscribing to?'
    hmmmm.....maybe he is referring to huge pieces of paper with letters on them that are sold at newstands and in machines???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    4-80-sicks, Oct 2nd, 2007 @ 10:18am

    Re: I'm a little a confused...

    Read the two sentences following what you quoted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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