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.