FT Gives Its Staff A $480 Bonus To Buy An iPad; CEO’s Memo

The Financial Times says it will give a £300 or $480 rebate to its 1,800 staff against the purchase of an iPad or other tablet.

Newspaper publishers are clearly getting bullish about the prospects of a post-web future in which editions of their product are delivered, a bit like in print, to tablets.

The FT, which has its own app on iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab, wants to encourage the tablet reading habit in its own staff first. It means a potential bill of £540,000 or $864,000. Even staff who already own a tablet will get the payout. Seems like one way to spend this year’s bonuses, and will do no harm to the FT’s tablet reader count.

Here is FT Group CEO John Ridding’s memo to staff…

“I’m pleased to let you know that we are launching today a new initiative that will allow FT staff to claim a £300 (€350/ US$480) subsidy for the purchase of a personal iPad or tablet. This will run from today until 30th June 2011.

The FT is making this investment because digital channels and tablet devices are becoming increasingly important for us and the media industry in general, and as recognition of your contribution to our strong performance this year.

“The FT has set the pace among global media organisations for tablet editions, winning a prestigious award from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) for our iPad app. We have also been a launch partner with Samsung on the Galaxy Tab.

“We have seen rapid growth in readership on these new devices, which support and extend our “channel neutral” strategy. Given their importance and the wave of innovation that we are seeing in applications and services, we want to encourage all our staff to be expert and experienced in using them.

“We need to fully understand their potential and share the user experience to better understand our customers and the developments and innovations taking place in the market. Tablet devices will also facilitate working while travelling, which is an increasing feature of our global organisation.

“The subsidy scheme will be combined with a series of masterclasses and workshops to help staff get the most from their devices and the applications that are currently available.”

The Financial Times’ iPad app made £1 million from ad sales since May launch, mostly through a big Hublot sponsorship, and has 400,000 users, accounting for 10 percent of new FT digital subs, the publisher said in October.