There’s more good news for the supposedly dying traditional media. In a week where the Mail Online posted its first ever profit and ‘The Sun’ entered the digital domain, the Financial Times sales actually grew largely due to a growth in its digital business.
The FT’s parent company Pearson revealed the numbers whilst reporting its half yearly results. The newspaper’s digital subscriptions grew by 31% to more than 300,000, overhauling print subscriptions (299,000) for the first time. Some of the print readers have clearly switched to digital as subscriptions were only up 2% overall but sales for the first half of 2012 were up 6% on 2011 to £216 million. By the end of the year digital will be responsible for 50% of all sales.
As well as a drop in print sales advertising revenues are down but this shortfall is more than made up for from the success of the FT’s digital model. The majority of readers still access FT.com free of charge but there are a range of paid options that allow users to access premium content.
For Irish readers standard option (4.8 million subscribers worldwide) costs €5.75 per week and the premium subscription which includes a special letter from the editor amoung other extras will set you back €7.99 per week. There is also a corporate deal that includes print issues priced at €183 for 6 months.
Much of the digital growth is due to mobile traffic as one in four digital readers now accesses FT.com from a smartphone or tablet. 2.7 million users access the site through the FT iPhone app launched last year and web apps are also now available on Chrome for Android and Windows.
The results for both the FT and Mail Online prove that newspapers can be successfully ported online in a profitable way and will be welcomed in newsrooms around the world as they scramble to replicate their success.