FT Hikes Cover Price Again; Editor Now Sees Readers Migrating From Print

Ever since it decided to retain its online pay wall a year ago, the Financial Times has been telling us its audience is only to happy to pay for quality content – but its second cover price rise in a year, during a downturn, looks positively ballsy and not unlike leaning in to the wind. The print edition is going up from £1.50 to a fat £1.80, after already rising from £1.30 in January. As Press Gazette notes, each of the quality papers has hiked their cover price in the last year. But they’re in the consumer-facing space – FT is betting its audience of business readers will simply suck up the price rise and continue shelling out. If FT’s theory is correct – that, even especially in these darkening financial times, business folk are more likely to pay for accurate information – then who’d bet against it?
Editor Lionel Barber told BBC Radio 4’s Media Show: “We’re offering something that is valuable and we’re going to charge for it. If you’re going to have good content, you have to get people to pay for it and not give it away for free. (Rupert Murdoch) has realised that that’s a sound proposition because (by making WSJ.com free) he would’ve ended up losing $50 million or more in one year just by giving it away.”
Separately, the Financial Times told paidContent:UK it received over 8,000 items of feedback solicited in response to its homepage redesign this week. Over 80 percent of respondents rated the new-look FT.com “good” or “very good”.
On Radio 4, Barber offered wider views on the state of the news business, noting that, whilst those aged 18 to 24 may always have read newspapers online instead of in print, now a concrete shift is occurring: “There are other people, who were reading newspapers, that are moving to other forms of consumption, that’s very dangerous for newspaper readers. The only good news for newspapers is that people are living longer and, therefore, we may be able to hold on to them a bit longer.”
(Photo: Fuse)